Last month, we held our first ever virtual Accommodate Symposium! The two-day event took place on July 7th – 8th with a total of 140 attendees, representing 79 institutions worldwide. Although we were disappointed that we couldn’t meet with our clients in person this year, we were thrilled to have the largest Accommodate Symposium turnout! Clients were able to virtually attend expert-led presentations, trainings, and best practices sessions over the two-day period.
Day one of Accommodate Symposium kicked off with opening remarks from Symplicity President & CEO, Matt Small. During his keynote session, Matt welcomed many new first-time Symposium attendees and reflected upon the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and how clients have been adapting to the “new normal” via Symplicity Accommodate. He also touched on the outpouring of positive feedback the Symplicity support team has been receiving—with remote work setting the stage for the summer and now fall semester, Symplicity Accommodate has become more relevant than ever before and users are appreciative that they can continue to deliver accommodations whether campuses reopen in an in-person, hybrid, or completely online capacity.
“I know you weren’t planning for this to be an online session, but I appreciate that it was all presented online! I wasn’t able to go to Palm Springs, so this was an opportunity that otherwise would not have been available to me. Thanks to all of you for your work on this!”
Loyola University Chicago
Following the opening remarks was a product update and roadmap presentation delivered by Symplicity’s VP of Product, Janet Sun, and Senior Product Manager, Esley Svanas. They provided insight into what has been driving our decision making and what they can expect from future product releases. Included in their presentation were pandemic-related trends as well as client feedback during the pandemic that the support team had received. These updated trends and responses were the basis of many client-led presentations and support-led discussions during the virtual conference.
Day two of Accommodate Symposium began with a virtual best practices panel featuring clients including Loyola University Chicago, Wayne State University, University of Wisconsin Superior, and Syracuse University. In a roundtable discussion, staff members from those institutions discussed best practices and use cases regarding the benefits of Accommodate modules during COVID-19. “I would say running reports and using Accommodate to track data is the most important process in a time like this. All of this data is important for telling your story,” Kelly Dormer, Disability Specialist from Wayne State University, said, “We’ve been using Accommodate for five years now and, in that time, we’ve been able to hire for two full-time positions and two part-time positions. There’s a lot of power in being able to, not only talk about the impact, but also to demonstrate it with data. Having accurate data shapes the way you deliver accommodations and the way that you highlight the work of your office.”
The event ended with a presentation from Symplicity client managers, discussing lessons and suggested strategies for fall planning in the COVID-19 era. Some of the topics included ways to leverage Accommodate across the board, including managing the anticipated influx of more students, more new students, and other challenges that can be expected in the upcoming academic year. Clients were engaged throughout all of the presentations, posing questions and sharing experiences during the virtual event.
As our third annual Accommodate Symposium, going virtual provided us and our clients with unmatched opportunities to build expertise and share best practices for furthering disability services in higher education. On behalf of the entire Symplicity team, we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished alongside our attendees and we look forward to Accommodate Symposium 2021!