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Universal Design Infusion of Technology and Evaluation for Accessible Campuses of Higher Education

UD-ITEACH project logo

History of Project and R2D2 Center Involvement

The UD ITEACH Project is the second generation demonstration grant based in the R2D2 (Rehabilitation Research Design and Disability) Center and promoting Universal Design in higher education. These grants succeeded the University of Wisconsin System's Conceptual White Paper on Universal Design in Education created by a team within the UW-System President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. Funding is largely provided through the U.S. Department of Education to Improve the Quality of Higher Education for Students with Disabilities.

Universal Design in Education (UDE), a proactive approach toward greater inclusiveness of students with disabilities, benefits students of all ages, cultures, and abilities. UDE recognizes that a disability may be less of an issue, and an individual may be able to achieve greater independence and educational success, if the environmental barriers to accessibility are removed. The universal design approach offers a cost effective and shared campus alternative to the current system of Individualized Accommodations, a one-to-one, student-staff delivery model for providing student accommodations.

The project aims to move UW institutions, and a growing number of other post-secondary campuses, toward developing new policies, procedures and resources to promote universal design for increased campus accessibility. The project endorses the identification and support of campus architectural, informational, and curricular experts and departmental representatives to serve as resources toward this aim.

Mission of the Project

UD ITEACH is implementing multiple strategies to improve the accessibility of higher education campuses and technology for students with disabilities and consequently improve the educational environment for all campus stakeholders. UD ITEACH has the mission to facilitate a transition in the UW system and all campuses of higher education from an exclusive individualized accommodation method of serving students with disabilities to a more inclusive and proactive model of Universal Design in Education.

Project Activities Summary

In an effort to enhance the recruitment, retention and success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education, UD ITEACH is creating a comprehensive web-based instrument to research and utilize student input regarding campus accessibility barriers. UD ITEACH is providing reports on accessibility and usability issues in existing and emerging educational technologies; institutionalizing campus-wide UD interventions to impact policies and personnel; disseminating project materials and providing training through an annotated website, webinars, workshops and conferences.

Products to promote post-secondary accessibility include audits to evaluate the accessibility of campuses, posterettes and tip sheets for faculty and staff, PowerPoint Presentations, Video clips, bibliographies, annotated links to other existing Universal Design websites, reports on the accessibility of new instructional technologies and more. Project research targets data collection from a variety of sources to measure success with the implementation of universal design strategies. Partnerships with several other campuses allow a wider base to replicate and test the success of UD ITEACH strategies.

Link to UD ITEACH/ACCESS-ed Website

The UD ITEACH Project continues to develop the ACCESS-ed website at . The website is rich with resources to assist campuses in becoming increasingly more accessible through Universal Design in Education.

Current Project Team

  • Aura Hirschman, M.S., C.R.C.
  • Roger O. Smith, Ph.D., OT, FAOTA
  • Dave Edyburn, Ph.D.
  • Tereza Snyder, B.F.A.
  • Alison Fernandez, B.S.
  • Keith Edyburn, Engineering Student
  • Amy Erfurth, B.S.
  • Cheryl Locher, M.S.