[Cato] CATO Update

Ward Naf wnaf at whatcom.edu
Wed Oct 4 16:14:34 PDT 2017

CATO's first year was eventful, productive and in some ways, confusing. The swirl caused by the addition of WaTech's Policy 188 to our accessible technology policy mix added both urgency and complexity to the CTC system's conversations.
This highlighted some structural problems with the specific composition of the Committee and, more generally, with the system's overall approach to achieving and sustaining technology accessibility.
Furthermore, a survey of accessibility stakeholders at the colleges identified a strong desire for developing more system-level support mechanisms and for more direct leadership from SBCTC. With those things in mind, we felt it was important to make some change to the way the group works.
Karen Fusco (CATO past chair) and Mark Jenkins (SBCTC) reported on CATO's successes and challenges to the State Board in Spring 2017. The Board responded by agreeing to support a more activist role for SBCTC and gave us approval to undertake a reorganization of CATO.
A core group of CATO members and State Board staff met over the summer to consider what the CATO of the present should look like in order to begin to put the CATO of the future in place. Generally, this group believes

  *   That CATO should continue to research and understand the system's needs.
  *   That CATO should identify and act on urgent needs - such as software testing, shared system service and technology acquisition, system-wide professional development, and procurement reform;
  *   That CATO should plan for and build an independent and responsive support organization that serves colleges with system-wide initiatives that increase the efficiency of everyone's efforts;
We decided for 2017-18 to move forward with a smaller 'steering committee' and we're in the process of building that committee. We will soon be requesting nominations for additional positions.
In addition to this group CATO will be supported by an Advisory Network of accessibility coordinators, IT and Business officers, eLearning, Communications and DSS representatives and Faculty.  We'll be asking for your help identifying the members of this network. This will hopefully enable CATO to reach out to content experts in specific areas and use their time in focused and efficient ways.
Thank you for all the work and conversation last year. It got us off to a good start and we look at accelerating progress and building support for our system and its colleges going forward.
Mark Jenkins
Director, eLearning |Open Education
Coordinator, Accessible Technology Initiatives
Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
mjenkins at sbctc.edu<mailto:mjenkins at sbctc.edu>

Ward Naf
IT Director
Co-Chair CATO
Whatcom Community College
(360) 383-3430

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