Dr. Rowland directs projects that focus on the use of accessible digital technology. She is the Executive Director of WebAIM (Keeping Web Accessibility In Mind). WebAIM is an internationally known organization that offers training, technical assistance, and services to make the Web a more accessible place for individuals who have disabilities. Dr. Rowland also directs the National Center for Disability and Access to Education, a group that works to advance policy and system change efforts of digital accessibility in education.
Although she demonstrates great technology interests, Dr. Rowland's professional background is as a speech and language pathologist and early childhood special educator. Prior to coming to the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice she worked in school districts and special centers for 8 years focusing on the communication skills of persons with severe disabilities as well as the development of infants and young children. In 1989 she shifted her career toward personnel preparation and development, establishing a multi-university consortia to use distance and online education to prepare personnel in rural areas for licensure in Early Childhood Special Education. She continued with this project as its Director, or in an oversight capacity until 2020. However, it was in 1998 that she made a huge career shift to address issues of the digital divide for those with disabilities. Her work in the past 20 years has been largely on digital access.
Broadly, her research interests have included the effectiveness of (a) naturalistic teaching strategies, (b) augmentative and alternative communication, (c) technology-mediated learning and mentoring; and (d) Internet accessibility for all.