In 1999, the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability (CPED) at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut received a three-year federally-funded grant from the U.S. Office of Postsecondary Education (Grant # PR333A990036) to consider the concept of universal design (UD) and the potential application of UD principles to instruction. The research of Drs. McGuire, Scott, and Shaw included not only an extensive literature review but also implementation initiatives via collaborative relationships with 20 colleges and universities across the country. Manchester Community College (MCC) was chosen as a partner school to function as a “full cooperative team member” in the Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) project, and MCC faculty contributed in a substantive way to the development of this paradigm about inclusive teaching. The work of MCC faculty and other participating partner schools contributed to the articulation of nine Principles of Universal Design for Instruction©. Original members of the MCC team included Gail Hammond (chair), Eileen Furey, James Gentile, Sandra Jenkins, Ken Klucznik, Donna McCormac, and Barbara Paskov.
A major product of the grant is a web site, FacultyWare (http://www.facultyware.uconn.edu/). In addition to extensive resources regarding the concept of UDI, the site includes a section called Instructional Freeware, a repository of inclusive instructional strategies submitted by faculty and selected for publication through a peer review process. From 2000-2003, members of the MCC team developed six instructional products that are available on the FacultyWare site Team members also presented their work at the following events:
CPED’s 14th annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute (6/07/02), Burlington, Vermont. Panel Presentation: “Focus on Faculty: Issues in Implementing Universal Design for Instruction”
- MCC Professional Day Workshop (9/20/02)
- Center for Teaching Workshop (12/13/02)
- Teleconference (3/26/03). “What Works in Higher Education Instruction: Faculty Discuss Effective Strategies for Teaching Stu-dents with Disabilities,” sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University (James Gentile)
- Quinebaug Valley Community College Workshop (5/27/03)
- CPED’s 15th annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute (6/06/03), Mystic, Connecticut. Panel Presentation: “Strategies for Promoting UDI on the College Campus”
At the completion of the three-year grant, CPED was awarded a second three-year grant (Grant # P333A020036). Manchester Community College was chosen to participate as one of five UDI Learning Communities in the second phase, and faculty participants were required to develop a UDI-focused project. During the 2003-04 academic year, the team created a project that centered on the community college as a venue within which to explore the Nine Principles of UDI© and their objective of inclusiveness. Focusing on students unprepared to learn, some of whom lack basic “study skills,” and some of whom are not acculturated to the academic setting and its expected behaviors, the team proposed to explore approaches to prepare all students to learn. Toward that end, through research as well as through focus groups with faculty and students, the team wanted to identify behaviors that limit students’ ability to learn and then communicate directly with students to enhance their academic success. During this time, team membership included Gail Hammond (chair), Len Dupille, Eileen Furey, James Gentile, Donna McCormac, David Nielsen, and Barbara Paskov.
In Fall 2006, the team conducted a survey of over 400 students to explore their academic experiences and expectations. It next conducted focus groups of students. The team also conducted a faculty survey and plans next to conduct faculty focus groups. Preliminary findings are available on this site. Those findings were also presented at the Center for Teaching Luncheon (11/20/06) and the Adjunct Dinner (05/18/07), and this work was also incorporated in a presentation made by David Nielsen on Student Engagement at the 2008 Student Affairs-Academic Affairs Joint Retreat.
For additional information, contact: Gail Hammond