Carleton as a Centre of Excellence in Accessibility
READ stands for Research, Education, Accessibility and Design. Building on Carleton University’s reputation in supporting persons with disabilities, the READ Initiative endeavors to establish Carleton as a Centre of Excellence in Accessibility, through research and development toward a world that is accessible and inclusive.
The READ Initiative leverages the resources of the university to provide and coordinate education and training in disabilities, accessibility, and universal design.
Making Education Accessible
Since its inception, Carleton University has supported accessibility in higher education for those who experienced barriers to full participation and inclusion. The very first students at Carleton were veterans from the Second World War trying to adapt and integrate back into society, while coping with their wartime experiences. From the exemplary services offered by the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities to more than five kilometres of underground tunnels connecting the campus’ buildings, Carleton University is one of the most supportive universities in North America for students with disabilities. The university has growing accessibility projects in research and design, academic programming and professional training, and helping students secure meaningful employment.
The purpose of this fund is to support projects and research on accessibility in all disciplines and nonacademic units across the University.
READ was pioneered by two longtime accessibility champions at Carleton: Larry McCloskey, the founder of the Paul Menton Centre, and Dean Mellway, a three-time Paralympic medallist.
READ strives to achieve five major objectives:
1. Research. Carleton faculty and staff engage in world-class research and the much-needed knowledge building in accessibility. READ brings together this expertise within and beyond Carleton, across disciplines and industries.
2. Education and training. The greatest challenges to accessibility are still the negative attitudes, stigma, lack of understanding and expertise. READ leverages the resources of the university to provide and coordinate education and training in disabilities, accessibility and universal design.
3. Program and policy development. We work with governments, businesses and other organizations, provincially and nationally, to improve education, employment and health for persons with disabilities. We help groups consider accessibility in their programs, services and policies.
4. Innovation and design. READ was originally, and still continues to be, driven by accessibility innovation in engineering and design. We are bringing creative minds together to push the boundaries of accessible design of products, spaces and technology through interdisciplinary, holistic collaborations.
5. Networks of partners in accessibility. We envision READ as Canada’s first Centre of Excellence in Accessibility, but not the only one. We see the potential for a network of such centres across the country to serve collectively as a catalyst for change. We already have the necessary capacity in our faculty, staff and students, whom we wish to bring together with like-minded partners, nationally and globally.
Partner With Us
Today, Carleton is home to many underrepresented students, with 29 per cent of its population self-identifying as having a disability. As the landscape of Canadians with disabilities evolves, with the growth of nonvisible disabilities and the aging population, the focus on accessibility for all becomes a growing priority. We invite partners to collaborate with us to help realize our national vision for a more accessible and inclusive Canada.