Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE)

Accessibility Champions

Creating excellent learning experiences for each student

We believe that the joy of learning, the freedom to grow, and the benefits of education are fundamental human rights at a university. Accessibility of course materials and Universal Design for Learning is essential for providing an equitable and inclusive learning environment for all Cal Poly Pomona students.

For that reason, in 2019, the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE) began a new initiative called eLearning Accessibility Champions (EACH), an initiative that would promote the intrinsic values that Cal Poly Pomona embraces.

In 2020, we re-introduced it to the campus as Champions for Accessibility and Inclusivity (CHAI). This name change reflects the ideals of Cal Poly Pomona more fully, not only addressing the different types of accessibility issues, but other barriers to education as well.

Faculty who are willing to put in the very personal work to use universal design principles and make their course materials accessible because they believe that all students deserve a fair shot, they are our heroes.

The Champions for Accessibility and Inclusivity project allows us to recognize heroes and help other faculty become heroes. We want to create a network of empathy towards students who benefit from universal design and accessible course materials and towards faculty who provide those materials.

Champions for Accessibility and Inclusivity will:
  • Complete CAFE’s asynchronous Fundamentals of Accessibility eCertificate course in Canvas, instituting a baseline awareness of best practices for accessibility and inclusivity. A digital certificate is awarded upon completion.
  • Attend a beginning-of-semester “kick off” and follow-up monthly meetings (< 1 hour each) with CAFE to plan and review program details and strategies.
  • Offer workshops/programs for either semester during their tenure as Champions:
    • Offer at least one college-based accessibility workshop and one college-based quality assurance workshop that address the college’s specific concerns.
    • Facilitate a guided version (2-3 weeks) of CAFE’s Fundamentals of Accessibility eCertificate course in Canvas for their college.
  • Send regular outreach (3-4 times per semester) messages to your college about accessibility, Quality Assurance, and CAFE resources. CAFE will provide template messages for you to customize.
  • Achieve an overall Ally score of 90% or greater for at least one of your courses that is web-enhanced, hybrid, or online. CAFE will help you track this.
  • Nominate future Champions for Accessibility and Inclusivity!

    We anticipate that being a Champion for Accessibility and Inclusivity will require at least 30 hours over the academic year and may be more if your course materials need a lot of work to reach the 90% Ally score. That sounds like a lot of time but it’s only about three hours per month and you will get a ton of support. Keep reading…

This program is incredibly important to us. We believe that all students deserve an equal shot at success no matter what. To this end, CAFE will support you in many ways:

  • As a 2022/23 Champion, you will get up to $1500 in professional development funds
    • $500 - Any time during the academic year upon achieving an overall Ally score of 90% or greater for a single course
    • $1,000 - Achievable at the end of Spring 2023 upon completion of other activities (must be completed in time for fiscal year deadline: April, 2023)
      • Attend monthly meetings
      • Facilitate one accessibility and one quality assurance workshop, as well as a section of our Fundamentals of Accessibility eCertificate
      • Send college outreach messages (to be provided by CAFE)
      • Nominate future Accessibility Champions for your college
  • Receive enhanced student assistance (Studio 6) and instructional design support for your classes. 
  • Campus recognition via outlets such as PolyCentric articles, the CAFE newsletter, and the CAFE Summer Institute. Plus, this is a university level service opportunity.

We’re looking for both full-time faculty or part-time faculty with a one-year contract who can commit to the program for the academic year. Champions need to teach at least one course in the academic year as online, hybrid, or web-assisted. Champions need to be enthusiastic LMS users!

We are now accepting submissions for our 2022/23 cohort.  Please fill out the CHAI Application Form to apply.

Current Champions

Jason Y. Zhang, CCHM

Jason Zhang is a lecturer in the Collins College of Hospitality Management. He is an American Hotel & Motel Association Certified Hospitality Educator and a National Restaurant Association Certified Restaurant Manager. His research interest includes hospitality service technology, food and beverage tourism, big data analytics, and consumer social economic behaviors. During his spare time, Jason enjoys basketball, music, cooking, and traveling. He stays involved in the hospitality industry by handling consulting, catering, and staging projects with various entrepreneurs. In addition, he volunteers at non-profit organizations such as Family Promise and Feeding America.

Jodye Selco, SCI

Dr. Jodye Selco is a professor in the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST) in the College of Science. She developed an asynchronous online course (with the help of the wonderful digital designers in CAFE) prior to COVID and worked to ensure that the course was accessible including producing chemical “line” structures that can be produced for visually impaired students. She uses the campus LMS to provide all of her students with accessible documents and videos.

John Cook, CBA

John Cook is an adjunct professor in the department of Technology and Operations Management. He worked for thirty years in the field of manufacturing and was involved with the design, construction, start-up, and optimization of manufacturing at sites throughout the world. He uses knowledge developed from working in the private industry to give students real-life, practical techniques in operations management, supply chain management, project management, process optimization, quality control, and LEAN. His goal is to teach students skills that will make them successful and appreciates hearing from his students that they were able to apply something they learned in class.

Brian Ramirez, ENG

Dr. Brian Ramirez is currently an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department. Before joining Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. Ramirez was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and obtained his Ph.D. from UCLA.

Anthony W. Acock, ENV

Anthony W. Acock is Chair of the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Communication Design at Cal Poly Pomona. Along with teaching, he has a career in Visual Communication Design which spans the better part of two decades, and focuses on the nonprofit sector, including using Visual Communication Design as a form of advocacy for individuals with disabilities, and other marginalized populations. Additionally, Anthony is exceptionally snobby about coffee.

Eeman At-Taras, AG

Dr. At-Taras is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences (AVS). She teaches classes in mammalian endocrinology and reproduction, animal behavior, and senior seminar. She is also involved in academic advising of undergraduate students in the department and mentors students in the College of Agriculture MS program. Dr. At-Taras strives to create a safe and welcoming learning space for all students in her classroom.

Laureen D Hom, CLASS

Laureen D. Hom is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. Her research and teaching interests are at the intersection of urban studies, Ethnic Studies, and public policy. At Cal Poly Pomona, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public administration, qualitative research methods, and race & ethnic politics. In her classes, she aims to help students develop their strengths and interests by creating a diverse, interdisciplinary curriculum and inclusive classroom community.

Past Champions


Andrea Watson, AG
Carlos Flores, ENV
E’Lisha V Fogle, CCHM
JoNeen Ohlåker, CEIS
Kristen Schiele, CBA
Mai Narasaki-Jara, SCI
Monica Palomo, ENG
Pinar Tremblay, CLASS


Ann Lara, CCHM
Anna Soper, AG
Annette Koh, ENV
Denise Kennedy, CEIS
Eileen Wallis, CLASS
Jun Myers, CBA
Stephanie Rothman, SCI
Zahra Sotoudeh, ENG


Dale McCabe, SCI
Denisa Chatman-Riley, CLASS
Giselle Navarro-Cruz, CEIS
Greg Placencia, ENG
Kim Miller, AG
Maha Ghosn, CBA