Commission Initiatives

What Does the Commission Do?

Guided by the belief that people with disabilities bring value and diversity to the university, the President's Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities is committed to full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of university life.  We seek to provide an academic, social and physical environment that makes people with disabilities integral to the diversity of perspectives that is vital to an academic community.  We seek to provide awareness and resources that allow faculty and staff to expand and integrate disability access and diversity into the university curriculum and services.  The Commission supports the priniciples of universally accessible design, alternative communication formats and the expression of disability community and pride. 

Current Working Groups

Most commission business continues to be carried out through three working groups.  Highlights of their current tasks and past accomplishments include:

Programming Working Group

In collaboration with the other commissions and campus groups, this group plans and promotes campus-wide events and programs such as:

  • International Day for People with Disabilities
  • Career and Information Fairs
  • Annual Panel Discussion with Students
  • Equality and Access Fair in collaboration with Institute on Disability
  • Identifying and supporting speakers for the MUB Current Issues Lecture Series including: Spencer West, Mandy Harvey, Temple Grandin, and Marc Eliot
  • Breaking Barriers - discussion with UNH alumni with disabilities including Monica Quimby  '09 and Josh Crary '10

Physical Access Working Group

  • Working with GIS, the group developed a comprehensive UNH Accessibility Campus Map that shows topographical elevations and measured distances of pathways and walkways from building to building.  Ongoing efforts involve building an app and mapping the interiors of core campus buildings to show locations of accessible doorways, elevators, restrooms, ALS equipment, wheelchair available seating and emergency phones.  Verticle/horizontal entry and exiting routing routes will also be distinguishable on the map.
  • Working with Facilities, the group developed SnowCAT Route which entails a concentrated snow removal effort that runs a circular route around core campus buildings and walkways.  Snow removal priority status is also being assigned to specific doors with automatic accessibility markers.
  • Working with ADA Compliance Officer to develop "Areas of Refuge" for key campus buildings.
  • Reviewing annual barrier removal projects in order to increase accessibility for everyone on campus.

Communications and Promotion Working Group

  • Works to keep the community updated on recent news and promotes upcoming activities and events.
  • Developed climate survey to gather quantitative and qualitative information on staff and faculty with disabilties.
  • Coordinates the Commission's Disability Award.
  • Works to post relevant data, statistics, resources and information on the commission's website.

Comprehensive Transition Post Secondary Program

A steering committee has been formed with members of this commission, Think College, NH Vocational Rehab, People First/SALT, NH Dept of Education, NH Bureau of Developmental Services, Governor's Commission on Disability, NH Easter Seals, additional community partners and staff from various UNH offices to develop a postsecondary education program for students with intellectural disabilities. 

The goals of the programs are:

  • To provide a real campus life experience for students to hone their social skills
  • To provide a postsecondary credential and competitive employment skills for increased career choices
  • To provide an opportunity to develop independent living skills

Here's a brief slide show from the recent retreat: