Duquesne-Designed/Enhanced Podiums Are Making Classrooms More Accessible

Todd Hughes, senior classroom technologist in the Office of Classroom Technologies, understands that in a modern classroom, comfort and inclusivity are necessary for creating a positive learning experience. With that in mind, Hughes has designed a height-adjustable podium to make Duquesne classrooms more flexible and accessible to everyone.

“In looking at our old podium designs, I thought we needed to address the needs of those with disabilities to make sure everyone—professors, students and guest speakers—can be comfortable in the classroom,” explained Hughes.

Hughes said he was inspired by sit-to-stand desks in his department’s office, and added sit-to-stand legs to an existing podium design to create a new podium that—with the touch of a button—can be raised and lowered to any height between 32 and 52 inches.

Nine of the new podiums have been installed—four in Fisher Hall, three in College Hall and two in Rockwell Hall. Two more are being installed on Rockwell’s newly renovated fourth floor this fall.

Hughes said that, over time, he hopes to replace all podiums on campus. For now, the Office of Classroom Technologies plans to install eight to 10 podiums a year.

The department has already received positive feedback from faculty and staff, according to Hughes. The cabinet supply company, M and M Cabinets is considering selling the design concept to other customers in the future.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with this whole process,” Hughes said. “It’s exciting to see my designs come to life.”

Hughes Podium
Hughes Podium
Hughes Podium
Hughes Podium
Hughes Podium
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Hughes’ podium design (shown in Room 222 of College Hall) allows professors, students and presenters to raise and lower the podium to a desired height. Raising the podium also helps the Office of Classroom Technologies perform maintenance work more easily.