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The Role of an ADA Coordinator in Post-Secondary Education. Presented by L. Scott Lissner Friday, March 11, 2011 . POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS.

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the role of an ada coordinator in post secondary education

The Role of an ADA Coordinator in Post-Secondary Education

Presented by L. Scott Lissner

Friday, March 11, 2011

powerpoint presentations can be dangerous


NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board identified simplistic thinking from an over-reliance on PowerPoint presentations as a contributing factor in the Columbia shuttle disaster.

(New York Times Magazine 12/14/2003)


Provide equally effective access to programs, benefits and services for qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated manner possible

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 34 CFR 104 &

Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act 28 CFR 35

what is covered
  • Programs, Benefits & Services
  • Communications
  • Facilities (June 1977/January 1991/March 2012)


  • Employment
    • Faculty, Staff, Work Study, Teaching Assistants, Adjuncts...
  • Education
    • Matriculated, Non-matriculated, Distance, Practica, …
  • Public events
    • Athletics, Lectures, Concerts, Job Fairs, Conferences, …

Justice William J. Brennan

Arline v. Nassau County, 1987

“Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.”

a model for the role of ada coordinator
A model for the role of ADA Coordinator
  • Primary role:

Insure compliance with Federal and State non-discrimination laws (neither advocate nor adversary)

  • Develop, review and refine policy and practice as they relate to access and accommodations with senior administration, deans, chairs, and program directors, human resources, faculty governance, student life, university architect, medical center administration, extension…..

Investigates/refers complaints of disability discrimination or harassment

Consult directly with managers, supervisors, human resources, faculty and staff regarding reasonable accommodations.


Review blueprints and consult with architects and engineers regarding new campus construction and renovation projects.

  • Initiate, encourage and support disability related initiatives.
who serves as the ada coordinator
  • Compliance Committee
  • Department or Division Network
  • Appointed Person
    • Sole duties or add on
    • Location with institution
  • Funding Compliance

Was a Section 504 Evaluation required?

    • If so is it available and has it been evaluated?
  • ADA Title II Self Evaluation and Transition Plan?
    • Has it been updated?
  • What do you need today?

Does the institution make information available to the general public regarding the fact that the ADA applies to the services, programs, and activities of the institution?

  • Does the institution use the Department of Justice’s model “Notice Under the Americans with Disabilities Act” or a similarly comprehensive notice?

Does the institution post this information in public areas or make it available in other ways as deemed necessary by the head of the institution to inform people of the protections of the ADA?

  • Is the ADA notice available in alternate formats – i.e., large print, Braille, audio format, accessible electronic format (e.g., via email, in HTML format on its website)?

Does the institution have an ADA Coordinator?

    • All state and local governments (including public colleges) with 50 or more employees are required to designate at least one responsible employee to coordinate ADA compliance.
  • Does the ADA Coordinator have the time, expertise, resources and authority necessary to coordinate institution’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the ADA?

Does the ADA Coordinator investigate all complaints communicated to the institution alleging that the institution does not comply with the ADA?

  • Does the ADA coordinator actually carry out these duties?
discrimination on the basis of disability
  • Exclusion
  • Failure to accommodate
    • Specific modification or tool
    • Not considered covered
  • Facilities compliance
  • Association
essential elements for the complaint process
Essential Elements for the Complaint Process
  • Notice of how, when, and where to file a complaint;
  • Clear distinction between informal and formal processes;
  • Prompt timeframes for each stage of the complaint process;
Hearing officer/investigator has relevant knowledge/training;
  • Hearing officer/investigator is free of conflict of interest;
  • Accommodations provided for grievance procedures, if needed;
  • Investigation of the allegation(s) is thorough and objective, and includes the opportunity to present evidence;
  • Written notice to the parties of the finding.
    • Identify any internal appeals
standards of evidence
Standards of Evidence
  • Substantial
    • A reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion; not the result speculation or conjecture
  • Preponderance
    • A reasonable person must be persuaded that the facts more probably support the position asserted than alternatives
  • Clear and Convincing
    • A reasonable person must be persuaded that it is highly probable that facts support the position asserted
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
    • A reasonable person must be all but certain of the position asserted
  • ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments
  • AHEAD’S ADA Coordinators SIG

  • Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights: Case Processing Manual

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Compliance Manual
  • Your local ADA DBTAC


L. Scott Lissner

      • University ADA Coordinator & 504 Compliance Officer
      • Associate, John Glenn School of Public Policy
      • Lecturer at the Knowlton School of Architecture, Moritz College of Law & Disability Studies
      • President Elect
      • Co-Chair, Public Policy
  • Appointed, Ohio Governor's Council For People With Disabilities
  • Chair, ADA-OHIO
  • Appointed, State HAVA Committee
  • Appointed, Columbus Advisory Council on Disability
  • Editorial Board, Thompsons 504 Compliance Handbook

L. Scott Lissner,

ADA Coordinator, The Ohio State University

Office of Diversity And Inclusion

1849 Cannon Drive

Columbus, OH 43210-1266


(614) 292-6207(v); (614) 688-8605(tty)

(614) 688-3665(fax)