1000 E University Ave
Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2379
Fax: (307) 766-6729
Lee (LJ) Helbig knows about breaking down barriers. A University of Wyoming junior from Mason, Mich., Helbig is a Cowboy wrestler who earned a trip to the NCAA championships last spring at 197 pounds. A social science major, he was born deaf and has a cochlear implant in his left ear to assist with hearing.
Helbig appreciates efforts by the university to break down the barriers to higher education and services for students, employees and visitors with disabilities. Through facility and classroom enhancements and assistance though University Disability Support Services (UDSS), UW is making a difference in many students' academic success.
Helbig encourages students to take advantage of the services offered at UW as he has.
"They have helped a lot," Helbig says of UDSS. "Without their assistive technologies, I wouldn't be making it through college at all."
Last year, UDSS served 375 qualified students, the most ever, says director Chris Primus. "We'll serve every qualified student regardless of number of credit hours enrolled, whether undergraduate, graduate, professional, Outreach, or at UW/CC."
Primus notes that efforts are also underway to expand the level of services available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. UDSS, the UW Outreach School, and the Wyoming Distance Learning Center are working collaboratively to help instructors make audio materials accessible as courses are developed and to explore captioning of other audio programming as it is produced.
"We are also working together to consider how we can provide helpful ‘how to' information to faculty on making their courses and web-based materials more accessible to all students," Primus says.
UDSS staff is always available to work with instructors, academic departments, the libraries and other UW services to explore ways to improve program accessibility so all students have the same opportunity to participate in all UW has to offer, she says.
"We welcome opportunities to visit with faculty and staff about individual questions they have, as well as with departments in faculty or staff meetings to provide information, suggestions, or assistance with accessibility topics they are addressing," Primus says.
Among services offered are test accommodations, sign language interpreter services, real-time class transcribing services, and alternative formats for audio and print. The UDSS has a computer lab in Room 7 of Knight Hall that offers assistive technology such as screen readers, voice recognition, magnification devices and alternative keyboards. Some of this assistive technology can also be found in other high-use computer labs, Primus says.
The sounds and sights of construction on campus are another confirmation of the university's commitment to breaking down barriers.
"I can say that one of the many exciting aspects of new construction and major renovations is that those facilities are designed and constructed with accessibility in mind, Primus says. "With each new facility and with the work that's being done to update some of our less current accessibility features, UW continues to enhance its accessibility for individuals with mobility or other physical disabilities."
Among the millions of dollars committed to new building and facility improvements are many projects specifically targeted to meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, says Jennifer Coast, UW Facilities Planning Office capital projects manager.
"Among the improvements to UW facilities are renovations to make more classrooms accessible, accessible door hardware, additional ADA parking spots, improved shuttle service to academic and athletic events, improved signage, additional ADA seating in the Arena-Auditorium, War Memorial Stadium elevator access to upper ADA seating, ADA-approved golf carts that accommodate wheelchairs, and ADA seating on both sides of the upper stadium deck and in the student section," Coast says.
Also planned over the winter is adding a lift in the Arts and Sciences auditorium to take people from the floor to the stage and additional ADA seating in the front row.
Learn more about University Disabilities Support
Services and their resources.
View a campus map featuring ADA parking and building access.