Universal Design for Diverse Learners
Universal Design (UD) is a concept that describes the creation of products, spaces, programs, and services that can be readily utilized by the widest range of people possible. Many well-known companies, like Comcast and Twitter, have made major changes to their products or services, in order to meet ADA requirements and to grasp a wide, more diverse audience.
As it relates to disability, UD can be viewed as a more holistic, integrated version of more antiquated design concepts that only focus on a specific disability category. Since UD is inherently inclusive, it can be applied to the design of specialized products or targeted services. In fact, the application of UD principles can help with improving scalability and efficiency by opening up new possibilities for doing more with less.
For example, the curb cuts (dips) in public sidewalks were initially designed to provide access to people who use wheelchairs, but other functionalities and collective benefits have been derived over time. Now, curb cuts have practically become the unofficial entryway for pedestrians with strollers, dollies, rolling luggage, and the like.
So Who Does Universal Design Benefit?
Everyone! To learn more, visit the SAS Resources page or click HERE to download the presentation from the SAS Faculty Workshop on Universal Course Design, Accessibility in Higher Education, and other topics.
Faculty Support through SAS and the Student Academic Hub
The Student Academic Hub conducts regular faculty workshops on a variety of topics, including classroom technology and best practices for accessible (universal) course design.
The Office of Student Access Services (SAS) provides resources and assistance to faculty in working with students with disabilities. Frequently asked questions are addressed in the Faculty Procedures Guide found on the SAS website.
Meeting Individually with SAS Staff
The Director of Student Access Services welcomes the opportunity to speak with individual faculty and staff members who may have questions regarding students with disabilities or disability issues. In addition, the Director is available to speak with groups of faculty, staff, or students as part of an educational or informational program on disability-related topics.