In today's diverse and interconnected world, accessibility and inclusiveness are fundamental principles that should be at the forefront of every institution's agenda, especially in higher education. 

Universities serve as hubs of knowledge, innovation, and personal growth, and they have a crucial role to play in ensuring that everyone, no matter their abilities, backgrounds, or circumstances, has equal access to education and opportunities. Accessibility and inclusiveness are key components of how a school interacts with students that have specific needs. 

The five key elements of accessibility and inclusiveness are:

  • Standards: Schools should adhere to guidelines for accessibility compliance, such as those from the Americans with Disabilities Act or W3C for web content.
  • Training: Staff should be educated and trained, ready to find ways to assist and eager to think of new ways to foster accessibility.
  • Accountability: After providing accessibility, feedback and revision should be a vital part of the process to guarantee transparency.
  • Inclusivity: Providing a correct accessibility culture means working alongside people with disabilities so they can go beyond compliance. These people have a unique experience and can be a valuable resource.
  • Responsibility: Being accessible and inclusive is the job of everybody every day. Staff must be encouraged to speak up and offer suggestions to fix shortfalls and include new ideas.

Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University prioritizes accessibility and inclusiveness, focusing on three key aspects: inclusive building design, website accessibility, and technological accessibility.

Inclusive building design at Thunderbird

Inclusive building design seeks to create spaces that are accessible and usable by all individuals, regardless of their physical abilities. This includes designing accessible entrances, restrooms, and classrooms to accommodate wheelchair users, individuals with mobility impairments, and those with sensory challenges. Other considerations include:

  • Clear pathways: Wide and unobstructed pathways are designed to accommodate wheelchair users, individuals with mobility impairments, and those with guide dogs or mobility aids.
  • Flexible layouts: Spaces are designed to accommodate a variety of uses and activities, making them adaptable to different needs.
  • Sensory considerations: Attention is given to creating spaces that are comfortable for individuals with sensory challenges, such as individuals with autism or visual impairments.

Thunderbird embraces accessibility and inclusiveness in building design in order to serve all students. This dedication to the disability community was recently recognized with the Excellence in Architecture Award given by the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues.

Website accessibility at Thunderbird

For online and remote students, as well as those who generally interact with the Thunderbird website, compatibility with web accessibility standards are important. That means making content whether a course, website, or other materials  accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or the device they are using. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, simple changes to websites can improve access to people with disabilities, including:

  • Auditory – deafness, hard of hearing
  • Cognitive – learning disabilities, brain injury, psychiatric disorder
  • Motor – paralysis, cerebral palsy, missing limbs
  • Visual – blindness, low vision, color blindness

There are many things a website can do to enhance compatibility and accessibility for students. Here are a few methods:

Accessibility features

Users should be able to adjust text size, contrast, and background color to suit their individual needs. Additionally, keyboard navigation should be fully supported for those who cannot use a mouse.

Alt text and multimedia accessibility

All images and multimedia content on a website should be accompanied by descriptive alt text, enabling screen readers to convey the information to visually impaired users.

Captioning and transcripts

Videos on websites should be captioned, and transcripts provided to ensure that individuals with hearing impairments can access audiovisual content.

Clear and consistent layout

Websites should employ a clear and consistent layout, making it easy for all users to navigate and find information.

Arizona State University adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, level AA or better, to serve its students and guests. Find out more about accessibility at ASU.

Technological accessibility at Thunderbird

Technology means more than a school’s website design. With improved technological accessibility, more students and members of the public can gain access to information at a level comparable to the access available to others. This accessibility is mandated in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Thunderbird complies with federal guidelines in many ways, including:

  • Accessible learning environment: Students and faculty can access course materials, participate in discussions, and submit assignments seamlessly, regardless of their abilities.
  • Adaptive technology: Special considerations are given to those accessing their course materials using screen readers, speech recognition software, and alternative input devices.. Thunderbird’s new, state-of-the-art Global Headquarters building features technology that is accessible to all learners. 

Be welcomed at Thunderbird School of Global Management

Accessibility and inclusiveness are not just aspirations at Thunderbird they are core values embedded in the institution's culture. Through inclusive building design, website accessibility, and technological accessibility, they strive to create an environment where all members of the university community can thrive.

Along with community partners,, we recognize the importance of accessibility and inclusiveness, not only to fulfill our commitment to diversity but also to ensure that education truly becomes a transformative force that knows no barriers.

We invite you to explore executive education degrees and certificate programs offered by Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. 


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