Anne-Marie Womack

Anne-Marie Womack is an award-winning teacher, creator of AccessibleSyllabus.com, and coauthor of Inclusive College Classrooms.

At Rice University, Anne-Marie is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Engineering Communication Program.

To collaborate, contact amwomack@rice.edu.

Book Cover for Inclusive College Classrooms: Teaching Methods for Diverse Learners, written by Lauren S. Cardon and Anne-Marie Womack. The cover features an abstract painting of bright swirling colors from all the colors of the rainbow.
Save 20% on my new book. Use discount code ASM11. Valid at www.routledge.com until 31 January 2023.

“I’m really grateful for the time Dr. Anne-Marie Womack spent with our faculty, especially following the “quick pivot” to remote teaching as a result of COVID-19. She led participants through a day of activities and reflections on how Universal Design can create more accessible and inclusive learning experiences for our students—as well as improve our own experiences as teachers.  She was generous with her time and actively modelled the principles she taught.  Her fun, hands-on approach and professional delivery made for a fantastic overall experience!”

Dr. Christa Craven, Dean for Faculty Development, The College of Wooster
Visual notes by Angel Trazo of Day 1 of the National Humanities Center Graduate Student Summer Residency. Speakers included: Robert Newman, Director of the NHC, a white man with white hair and beard; Tera Hunter, Princeton Professor, a Black woman with brown shoulder-length curly hair and glasses; Rivi Handler-Spitz, Macalester Associate Professor, a white woman with short light brown hair, and Anne-Marie Womack, Rice Assistant Teaching Professor, a white woman with long dark hair and glasses. Newman’s quote reads: “Good teaching is synergistic with good scholarship. Humanities classrooms are constantly the most life changing.” Hunter asks, “Why does African American history matter? I start with this document that has both personal and historical significance. Moses and Ellen are my paternal great-great grandparents in 18th century Virginia—the founding place of slavery in the English colonies. For her, primary documents are the text and lectures provide the context. Handler-Spitz says, “When I first started teaching, my students would ask smart, challenging questions and I would feel ‘OMG, they’re about to unmask my ignorance,’ so I’d what their questions down.” For her, dialogue is not a train on a set track, but a journey of exploration and discovery. Womack says, “In teaching there is no one best practice—there are multiple strong practices.” She observes that disability is intersectional. Students given accessibility accommodations are disproportionately white and male. Getting official accommodations is a long, difficult process!

Teaching Workshops

  • National Humanities Center, yearly, 2020-2022
  • Miami University
  • Southern University
  • University of Florida
  • Hollins University
  • College of Wooster
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Alabama
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Louisiana State University
  • Curry College
  • Tulane University
  • Texas A&M University

Remaking the Syllabus

Screen capture of the Accessible Syllabus website. The tagline reads: Accessible classroom resources promote student engagement and agency. There are 4 navigation menu options: image, text, rhetoric, and policy.

Accessible Syllabus

award-winning website

This website guides instructors through accessible syllabus strategies including multimodal content, document design, and inclusive rhetoric and policies.

Teaching is Accommodation

College Composition & Communication

This article theorizes teaching as accommodation and centers disabled students. The syllabus is reconsidered through a universal design lens.

A traffic sign reads steep grade ahead, accessible route, with an arrow pointing to the right.

Visual Notes by Wendi Pillar of Anne-Marie Womack’s workshop “How to Create an Accessible Syllabus.” The collection of ideas and images emphasize sustainability, reader accessibility, and flexible course policies. At the top, a scale hangs out of balance with the advice: Balance your own personal needs: What is sustainable? Arrows then direct teachers to consider, what do we often assume most students should do? How much of it is related to learning? A sun highlights the insight that struggling with access is not the same as struggling with content. Hearts surround the idea that we should let students make their own choices. Beneath that advice is a series of headings with lists. Under reader accessibility there is advice to put most important things first, use heading styles vs. bold, break down text, and include accessible visuals. Under the heading for course policies, the list states: include your values on the syllabus, use warm language instead of cold because approachability matters, issue invitations instead of commands, and ask yourself, how can students learn best and learn from mistakes? Under the heading flexible policies are options including structured deadline flexibility, low-stakes work, grade in order of submission, time banks, and one extension no questions asked. Under the heading grading policies are the options: flexible grading/deadlines, grading contracts, contract weighting, optional graded daily work, and make-up work that replaces old grades. A box surrounds some final advice about how to proceed: What’s one thing you can change today? 1. Start small. 2. Adaptable documents. 3. Make PDF’s accessible, 4. Create multimodal version. While designing a syllabus, consider what really excites you? Is your syllabus a graveyard of past student issues? Or a path forward?

Teaching Awards

  • Accessibility Ally Award, Goldman Accessibility Center, Tulane (2021)
  • Excellent Faculty Mentor Award, Undergraduate Student Government, Tulane (2019)
  • Writing Program Teaching Award, Tulane (2014)
  • Association of Former Students Teaching Award, Texas A&M (2011)
  • Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence (SRATE), (2011)
  • Writing Programs Award for Excellence & Innovation in Teaching, Texas A&M (2009)
  • Staley Creswell Graduate Teaching Award, Texas A&M (2008)

Awards for Accessible Syllabus

  • Best Webtext, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy (2017)
  • Award for Exemplary Learning Material – Teacher Education, MERLOT (2017)

Access

On this website, I strive to make content accessible through universal design. Creating access is an ongoing collaborative process, not a final check on a checklist. So, when this website presents barriers to access, please contact me at amwomack (at) rice (dot) edu.

Image Credits

  • Jamie Glisson, headshot of Anne-Marie Womack, 2022
  • Leslie Anglesey, “Steep Grade Ahead, Accessible Route” photograph
  • Angel Trazo, “National Humanities Center: Graduate Student Summer Residency Day 1,” visual notes, 2021
  • Wendi Pillars, “How to Create an Accessible Syllabus,” visual notes of one of Anne-Marie’s sessions at the National Humanities Center, 2022