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  • Universal Design and Disabled Students: From Inclusion to ExcellenceAlan HurstTrustee Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, UK

  • The Main Challenge In the UK and elsewhere, specialist disability staff see most of the difficulties they and their disabled students face result from issues about access to the curriculum, learning and teaching, and academic assessment

  • A Common Aim and A Shared Need for Change

    From Fire Fighting to Fire Prevention in other words from reaction to proaction

    Hi, is that the Disability Office? I have one of your students with me.

    We are all responsible for disabled students if we claim to work in a genuinely inclusive institution.

  • Universal Design and the Curriculum

    The most effective way to ensure that disabled students are included is to design courses and study programmes which are barrier-free and accessible to all (that is by anticipating what might be needed). The more effort at this stage means that there will be less need to make reasonable adjustments/changes for individual disabled students later.

  • Key Principles Underpinning My Approach to Universal Design 1 From an individual/medical/deficit model of impairment to a social/educational/political model

    Can you tell me what is wrong with you?

    What complaint causes your difficulty in holding, gripping, and turning things?

    Does your health problem/disability exclude you from going to university?

  • The Questions AgainRewritten from a social/political/educational view the questions become:

    Can you tell me what is wrong with society?

    What defects in the design of everyday equipment like jars, bottles and tins cause you difficulty in holding, gripping or turning them?

    Are courses and the teaching and learning through which they are delivered creating barriers to participation for someone with your health problem/disability?

  • Key Principles Underpinning My Approach to Universal Design 2Principles of independent living especially having choices and the right to take decisions about ones own life

    Focus on equity rather than equality treating people differently according to needs and not treating all people in the same way and ignoring their individual needs

  • An Example of a Successful Project Encouraging Universal Curriculum Design

    The Teachability Programme in Scotland

  • Course Teaching Staff Asked to:identify ways in which the subject/course/programme for which you have responsibility or with which you are associated closely is accessible to students with a range of impairments ( i.e. impaired hearing/mobility/vision/intellectual functioning et al)

    identify barriers to prevent the participation of students with a range of impairments and if so what are they?

    suggest how might these barriers be overcome?

    outline what needs to be done in order to implement the strategies you have identified for overcoming the barriers?

    say how attention van be drawn in an honest way to the possibilities and challenges posed by our current subjects/courses/programmes of study?

  • The Teachability Project Experience in Scotland suggests that sometimes teaching staff need more assistance at the start of the tasks. If this is the case then the key question they need to address is:

    What do you consider to be the core requirements/ core skills which all students must have on completing the subject/course/programme of study successfully?

  • Curriculum Design

    Attendance RequirementsFieldwork, Study Visits, Home and Overseas placementsLaboratories, Workshops, StudiosSpecial Equipment and Technology


  • Learning and TeachingBarriers intrinsic to the nature of the subject

    Barriers resulting from chosen methods of teaching and learning

    Barriers created inadvertently

  • Assessment of LearningScope for flexibility

    Early and clear information about requirements, marking criteria, and distribution of marks

    Physical and environmental considerations

    Modifications and alternatives

    Allocation of responsibilities

  • Quality Monitoring and Enhancement

    Validation of new courses/review of existing courses

    Disabled students involvement and feedback

    Position of external bodies

  • Universal Design: Other Parts of Student LifeEntering university e.g. access to information and publicity

    Participating in social life e.g. living accommodation

    Leaving university and getting a job e.g. advice and guidance on careers and/or further study

  • Moving to Universal Design:Other Stimuli for Action

    Anti discrimination laws

    National monitoring of quality in universities

    Creating and improving training and continuing professional development for staff

  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Defines disability a physical or sensory impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a persons ability to carry out day-to-day activities

    Defines discrimination treating someone less favourably that someone else for a reason related to her/his disability without justification

    Justifications include: maintenance of academic standards reasons that are material and substantial

    Responses required make reasonable adjustments and undertake anticipatory duties

  • The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education Code of Practice 2010Code covers all aspects of university policy and provision in different sections. Section 3 is about disabled studentsCode is used for guidance by those responsible for periodic visits to consider the quality of what a university providesCodes are made up of general precepts followed by a number of illustrations of good practice

  • Sample Precepts from the QAA CoPPrecept 10 the design of new programmes and the review and/or revalidation of existing programmes include assessment of the extent to which the programme is inclusive of disabled studentsPrecept 11 both the design and implementation of learning and teaching strategies and related activities such as the learning environment, recognise the entitlement of disabled students to participate in all activities provided as part of their programme of study

  • The Finishing PointThe Mission The successful introduction and implementation of universal design involves the changing of cultures at many levels in society and in institutions - a very difficult task for those promoting change and those being changed. Cultural change can be more enduring than changes required by lawA law cannot guarantee what a culture will not give (Mary Johnson 2003)

  • The Finishing PointThe Outcome

    If we do not change the direction we are headed now, we shall end up where we are going (Chinese proverb quoted by Jodi Picoult as the frontispiece of the recent novel Nineteen Minutes)

    If we do not know where we are going, how will we know when we get there?

    Evidence of major progress?

    When disability services are seen as value-added provision in universities rather than a source of additional institutional expense.

  • Some Useful Websiteswww.teachability.strath.ac.uk (guides on inclusive practices)www.heacademy.ac.uk ( review of research on inclusion 2010)www.qaa.ac.uk (code of practice 2010)www.skill.org.uk ( publications including Alan Hursts Staff Development Guide) email address for comments/questions hahurst@yahoo.co.uk