Grant to upgrade
technology for UNCP's disabled students
By Scott Bigelow
for disabled students at UNC Pembroke just took a leap into the future.
UNC Pembroke's Office
of Disability Support Services (DSS) has received
a grant to enhance accessibility to computer software that supports
disabled students. The grant is valued at $19,200 and allows for a package
of software to be installed on any computer on campus.
The grant from Premier
Assistive Technology Company is called "Breaking Down Barriers
to Assistive Technology." The software performs functions such
as enlarging computer text, reading textbooks and reformatting text
documents into audio files.
Dr. Roger Brown
hailed the grant as a major step for the University's support for disabled
Support Services at UNC Pembroke under Mary Helen Walker's leadership
are serving our students extremely well," Dr. Brown said. "We
are proud of our proactive and positive approach to making higher education
accessible to every qualified student who desires it. The grant will
help ensure that we employ the latest technology on their behalf."
The Office of Disability
Support Services (DSS) serves approximately 500 UNCP students, including
more than 40 visually-impaired students. Accommodations Coordinator
Misty Sykes applied for the grant.
"This is a
significant upgrade of our resources for students with disabilities,"
Sykes said. "I am very impressed with this software."
current software, students with disabilities are able to perform tasks
that were previously unavailable to them, Sykes said.
"For the first
time, we have a talking calculator and a talking dictionary," she
said. "And for the first time, audio files can be converted to
popular formats that do not require the use of a computer to hear."
"Also for the
first time, we have a program that can read PDF files," Sykes said.
"There were so many documents on the Internet that were not accessible
to the disabled."
Technology's online tutorial program will save DSS time and money.
"The free online
tutorial is fast and easy. I did it in one night," Sykes said.
received this software, students made appointments to get help, and
it took many hours of tutorials."
DSS Director Mary
Helen Walker said the new software would increase the productivity of
her staff. Disabled students will be the primary beneficiaries.
of services and helping the disabled to become more independent is the
bottom line in our office," Walker said. "This grant is a
breakthrough for us."
The grant allows
UNCP to run assistive technology programs on as many personal computers
as needed. Currently, assistive technology software is on four computers
in DSS's office, five in UNCP's 24-hour computer lab and 20 computers
scattered across campus. The grant also allows for full technical support
and free upgrades for one year.
For more information,
contact the Office of Disability Support Services
at 910.521.6695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
to University Newswire