Our Mission & Core Values

student in accaessiblenu testing room

AccessibleNU serves, supports, and empowers Northwestern students with disabilities by ensuring equal access to fully participate in academic programming and all other facets of University life.

To fulfill this mission, AccessibleNU has four core values:


AccessibleNU aims to make all aspects of a Northwestern education accessible. One often thinks first of physical accessibility of the campus, and AccessibleNU indeed plays an active role in the Campus-Wide Accessibility Council, which includes our partners in Auxiliary Services and Facilities Management, and the Room and Board Accommodation Committee. However, accessibility is an ever-expanding term, especially as technology advances, and AccessibleNU therefore works in conjunction with Student Affairs IT and with University-wide committees such as the Web Steering Committee and the Web Developers Accessibility Working Group to encourage not just departments within Student Affairs to make their websites accessible to software such as screen-readers but to make all Northwestern websites and the software employed on them accessible to students with disabilities.

Direct Service

Although laws pertaining to reasonable accommodation governing higher education do not require AccessibleNU to provide individualized, special education services to our students, AccessibleNU makes every attempt by using services within it and the University to respond to the variety of unique requests for services that students make. For instance, AccessibleNU staff began receiving training in and offering academic coaching to assist its many students with executive functioning weaknesses. Moreover, when students request intensive writing support, AccessibleNU has partnered with the University's Writing Place to provide students registered with writing-related disabilities additional appointments.

Reasonable Accommodation

AccessibleNU has a legal and ethical responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and services to all students registered with the office. These are intended to provide equal access to academic and co-curricular components of a Northwestern education. They are not intended to provide unfair advantages or to modify essential elements of courses, programs, and activities, which must remain intact; only the peripheral requirements are subject to modification.

Commitment to Diversity

Just as AccessibleNU works to extend the construct of accessibility to being beyond mere physical accessibility, we encourage everyone to embrace disability as a domain of diversity. Moreover, we work closely with and attend trainings created by offices such as Campus Inclusion & Community, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, and the Women's Center in addition to working closely with the University's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services/504 Coordinator. Our site aims to be inclusive, in part, by avoiding dichotomous personal pronouns and instead using "they" or "their."

These four core values and the work that AccessibleNU does would be meaningless if the Office and University were not committed to maintaining the confidentiality of students with disabilities. Students registered with AccessibleNU and those considering registering with AccessibleNU can rest assured that inquiries and conversations with AccessibleNU staff will remain confidential.