MSU Becomes a Destination Campus for the Visually Impaired

Jan 18, 2019

Credit Missouri State University

In this episode of Engaging the Community, KSMU's Jennifer Moore speaks with MSU President Clif Smart and MSU Deputy Provost Dr. Chris Craig about opportunities for the visually impaired.

You can hear the interview by clicking the "Play" icon below.

In 2017, Missouri State University was designated as the number one college or university in the country for the visually impaired by the website Universities.com.

"Our goal has been to to be a destination campus for the visually impaired--to be the place in Missouri that parents and students know that they can go to school and and get exactly the same education as someone who doesn’t have a visual impairment," Smart said.

That includes students being able to access materials, having the best technology, or receiving support from tutors or others, Smart said.

Dr. Chris Craig says "the word's out" on MSU's efforts to become a leader in education for the visually impaired.

"We have obtained some major grants from the US Department of Education to make Missouri State the definitive program for the preparation of teachers to work with children who are visually impaired," Craig said.

MSU was the demonstration site for the blindness skill specialist, Craig said; that was a DESE-funded project that MSU piloted for the state and implemented over a decade ago.

"Another thing that we have done over the years is that we have become the hub for assistive technologies. Those are those specific hardware and software packages that allow persons with visual impairments to access printed material," Craig said.

At the library, reading and research materials are either already accessible, or they are made accessible by staff at the Disability Resource Center, Craig said.

MSU has also invested in a state-of-the-art program called Fusion, Craig said.  That allows better access to materials for the visually impaired, he said.

Craig lauded the university's faculty for being receptive to using new technology.

MSU also made the list of "50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges" by the website College Choice;  the list cited the university's Disability Resource Center and other resources as being among the top in the country.