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FutureVU presents the opportunity for the university to clearly contextualize inclusion through several efforts. Through careful space design, the university will develop and promote welcoming environments for community members to share differences. FutureVU provides for the creation of inclusive centers, places where differences may converge and opportunities to make healthy connections are found, while also promoting social interaction of Vanderbilt’s diverse population.  The initiative is also facilitating an accessibility review of current and future spaces to ensure inclusion for those with physical impairments or disabilities. As a part of these efforts, Vanderbilt Facilities has established an Advisory Accessibility Task Force.


Advisory Accessibility Task Force (AATF)

The AATF is a collection of University stakeholders who will assist and advise VU Facilities in promoting and achieving inclusivity and accessibility at the institution’s built environment. 

AATF Charge

  1. The AATF, facilitated by VU Facilities and an external consultant, will discuss and determine criteria by which accessibility improvements should be considered and prioritized.  As examples, should every classroom be fully accessible; should all buildings have ‘front door’ accessible entries; how to determine which restrooms should be accessible; to what degree does extraordinary cost impact consideration for any proposed improvement, etc.?
  2. The external consultant, directed by the VU Facilities Project Manager as well as the criteria proposed by the AATF, will create a 5-year accessibility improvement plan. This 5-year plan will be vetted by the AATF, discussing alignment with the proposed criteria and if improvements should be reprioritized.  Prioritization should be based not only on objective data, but with consistency with Vanderbilt’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity and equity. 
  3. AATF will advise and work with VU Facilities, VU Information Technology and others to develop and employ technologies and strategies for how this data can be disseminated in pro-active ways so that it offers value to the community.  Examples include mapping; applications; intuitive web sites; etc.
  4. The AATF’s assignment is projected to be no longer than 6 – 8 months.  At the conclusion of the above objectives and tasks, the AATF will no longer meet but it is proposed that the AATF, with willing participants, remain a resource for VU Facilities as may be required to offer advice on general and/or specific accessibility issues.  

AATF Membership


Melissa Ahler, Risk & Insurance Management;

Sandra Barnes, assistant vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusivity;

Vanessa Beasley, dean of the Ingram Commons;     

Jesse Bennett, undergraduate student (Disability Awareness Partnership);

Katharine Brooks, Evans Family Executive Director, Career Center;

Carin Brown, professional masters student, Peabody;

Wen-Yuan Chen (Lily), graduate student

Stacy Clifford-Simplican, senior lecturer, women’s & gender studies;

Dan Cornfield, professor, sociology;

Lindsey Fox, GIS coordinator, Peabody library;

Michael Goldfarb, professor, mechanical engineering;

Jenny Gustafson, program coordinator, Next Steps at Vanderbilt;

John Haendel, associate director, IT Service Delivery;

Patricia Helland, associate dean, dean of students;

Anita Jenious, director, equal opportunity, affirmative action, & disability services;

Katherine Kobrich, undergraduate student (Disability Awareness Partnership);

Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration;

Lanier Langdale, undergraduate student (Vanderbilt Student Government representative);

Kevin Leander, associate professor for teaching and learning;

Nariko Lee, undergraduate student;

Kelly Longenecker, professional masters student;

Jenny Mandeville, content and marketing specialist, communications;

Mike Perez (chair), associate vice chancellor & chief facilities officer;

Mark Petty (project manager), assistant vice chancellor for plant operations;

W. Frank Robinson, assistant professor, associate director Center for Latin American Studies, assistant professor of history;

Ruza Shellaway, deputy general counsel;

Corwin Thomas, major, VUPS;

Melissa Thomas-Hunt, vice provost for inclusive excellence, professor of management;

Emily Voorde, professional masters student;

Robert Waits, university landscape architect;

Briana Watkins, undergraduate student, VSG community building, outreach & diversity committee chair;

Stephanie Zundel, undergraduate student.


Aimi Hamraie, assistant professor of medicine, health and society and american studies.


Huey Brantley, director, facilities information services;

John Giampaolo, sr. director, academic IT service delivery;

Keith Loiseau, university architect.


Accessibility Study

Vanderbilt Facilities has completed the process of examining accessibility features on campus, with the long-term goal of making indoor and outdoor areas accessible and inclusive for all members of the Vanderbilt community. The first step of this process was to critically assess and document the different accessibility features on campus. A student work force was hired to inventory and gather pertinent data regarding existing conditions of the built environment. An external consultant is engaged, supplementing VU Facilities, to import collected data into a GIS platform that will integrate with VU technologies and abilities.  This virtual information will constitute the authoritative database for accessibility and other issues (gender neutral restrooms, lactation rooms, showers, etc.), and will be made available to all university departments and organizations for appropriate and responsible use. VU Facilities will manage and update this database as standard operating procedure as changes occur to the built environment resulting from on-going remodels and improvements.



May 31, 2017: Comprehensive campus accessibility project underway

Aug 28, 2017: New task force to aid in development of accessibility and inclusion strategies for land use planning initiative

Oct 9, 2017: Chancellor’s Town Hall focusing on campus accessibility, transportation and mobility, and sustainability set for Oct. 17, 2017

Oct 19, 2017: Zeppos engages campus community about FutureVU core values, next steps

Jan 25, 2018: FutureVU begins spring semester by continuing efforts to engage campus community