About Us

AccessibleNU, formerly the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), was established at Northwestern University in 1997. It has experienced rapid growth since its inception with the number of students AccessibleNU serves having tripled in the last 10 years. This increase is related to a number of factors: greater awareness of what conditions may be eligible for reasonable accommodation (especially diagnosed psychological conditions), reduced stigma toward accessing accommodations and services, and the timing of when laws supporting special education and reasonable accommodation were passed (meaning students received adequate support throughout their K-12 education to successfully gain admission to Northwestern). Also related to the timing of these laws, it is likely that Northwestern will be seeing an increasing rate of graduate and professional-program students registering with AccessibleNU. The passage of the 2008 Amendments Act to the Americans with Disabilities Act broadened the definition of disability, and it is therefore possible that AccessibleNU will grow at an even more accelerated rate as a result of this and, we hope, further reduction of stigma toward registering with the Center.

Related to the Center's growth and the increasing technical complexity of , for example, providing accommodations in the context of online courses, the greater variety of e-readers and ensuing need to create alternate, accessible text formats, and the emergence of more platforms and device types, AccessibleNU was thrilled to be granted an additional position this year:  its Assistive Technology Assistant Director. Prior to that, the office supported its more-than-700 students with 3 full-time professional staff and 1.5 full-time administrative staff while proctoring over 1700 exams in support of faculty throughout the course of 2013-2014.

AccessibleNU's name change was very intentional, for supporting and providing equal access to diverse populations (which includes students with disabilities) is the responsibility of the entire Northwestern University community. AccessibleNU aims to move the University toward architectural universal design and universal design for learning, meaning that there would be less need for the application of accommodations or for AccessibleNU to exist. In the meantime, AccessibleNU is here in support of students, staff, and faculty toward ensuring the efficient provision of reasonable accommodations in order to provide equal access.

Our Mission & Core Values
Our Mission & Core Values of AccessibleNU
Our Office
Here is information about our Accessible NU Office.
Meet The Staff
Meet the Staff of AccessibleNU
Maps & Directions
Here are locations for both of our AccessibleNU Centers
This page describes our current outreach focus
Learning Outcomes
Here are AccessibleNU Learning Outcomes
Giving to AccessibleNU
Here is how you can make a donation to our AccessibleNU department.