CAL News

November 13, 2018

Centre for Students with Disabilities name change to Centre for Accessible Learning                      

To better reflect contemporary best practice, The Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD) has changed its name to the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL), effective November 2018. This new title reflects the current programing, services, and supports the Centre offers, and acknowledges the significant paradigm shift in the way disabilities are conceptualized.

In adopting this new name, we join many other institutions that have moved to include some variant of the term “Accessible” in the title of their respective programs serving a similar role and mandate. Most importantly, as an institution increasingly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, our language should not be divisive. Accordingly, each element of the proposed new name received serious consideration. 

  • The term Centre remains, as it continues to reflect the role this unit plays as the central entity providing consultation and support around disability/accessibility issues for students, faculty, and administration as well as the broader community. The Centre is involved in issues ranging from ensuring physical access to the campus (including learning spaces), to adapting curriculum and delivery systems to meet the learning needs of people with disabilities and the community at large, to consulting on a wide range of policies and practices that impact on diversity and inclusion. We collaborate on programming and research projects with a host of other SFU divisions (e.g., faculties, Teaching and Learning Centre, Student Learning Centre, Health and Counselling, Recreation and Athletics, FIC, and Residences) and with the broader community (e.g., Ministry of Advanced Education, Rick Hansen Foundation), which rely on the Centre’s understanding of the needs of diverse learners. 
  • Accessible better recognizes the role of systemic barriers or influences on the production of impairment; conversely, “disability” focuses primarily on the individual. In directing the focus away from the student and toward the challenge, “accessible” enhances recognition of the shared responsibility to make the curricular, informational, physical and social environments at the university more accessible to an increasingly diverse community of learners.
  • Learning recognizes that, like the university as a whole, the Centre facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and assists with the furthering of personal and developmental growth. The education we seek to foster is not restricted to purely academic matters, and increasingly involves non-traditional elements such as experiential learning. The current term “student” overly restricts the focus on the individual and on more traditional learning frameworks. The Centre is involved in facilitating inclusion and access to increasingly diverse learning opportunities that target not only traditional “students” but also the broader community of learners with which the University engages.