UD for 3 PATH 4 Charter Information

HEA Path 4 Funding Call 2022

The recent criteria for the newly released National Access Plan, particularly under the PATH 4 phase I stream, called for all HEIs to address Universal Design/ Universal Design for Learning within their HEA funding applications.

 Ahead of the preparation for individual institution funding application responses to the HEA which were submitted on the 14th of OctoberAHEAD in collaboration with the IUA and THEA, reached out to all HEIs to initiate a collected response in applications through joined up thinking to respond to the needs of the students of Ireland.

Working through the summer months on this, there was a large response to this call by AHEAD for a national ‘Think In’ and what had been formed as a result is 4 work project packages addressing the criteria of PATH 4, Phase I where various institutes committed to being either lead, partners, or collaborators on these national packages.

The Four National Projects are:

(i.) Develop a National Charter for the Implementation Universal Design in Tertiary Education (UD for 3 Charter).

(ii.) Taking Leadership on the Universal Design Agenda – A Symposium for Higher Education Leaders (Staff Capabilities).

(iii.) Guidelines for the Development of Higher Education Programmes for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

(iv.) Developing a template Web Accessibility Statement for Tertiary Education Institutions. ATU Sligo are leading on two of these projects and are partnering and collaborating on the others.

The aim of this overview is to bring to your attention the first project mentioned which is the ‘Develop a National Charter for the Implementation Universal Design in Tertiary Education (UD for 3 Charter).’

While the rise in discourse about universal design and UDL practice in tertiary education has risen markedly in recent years, there is often misconceptions about what universal design is (as distinct from UDL), a lack of national understanding about what areas of further and higher education we can apply UD approaches to, and what that would look like in practice. 

This project involves utilizing the UCD Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education Institutions (under revision in tandem with this project) as the background to this development. The accompanying Toolkit will support ETBs and HEIs to measure their progress against 4 pillars and create a reflective action plan for future development in this area. The pillars in the toolkit address teaching & learning, student services, physical- built environment and IT/ Digital accessibility. 

The charter/toolkit will also address the systems and policies which underpin these pillars, and the output will clearly demonstrate how the implementation of universal design supports ETBs and higher education institutions to align with other national targets such as those concerning retention and learner success. 

Widening the scope from student centred learning, this charter will explore how a universal design approach can help us to support a diverse staff profile to succeed in FET and higher education. It is envisaged that on completion of the project, institutions would be encouraged to formally adopt the charter as something they are working towards, and that organizations like AHEAD could play an important national role in supporting institutions to adopt and work towards it. 

The project team also envisages this output being important in the future shaping of institutional policies and practices regarding student success and UDL.

This National Charter group has a lot of interest and input from colleagues across 10 HEIs, AHEAD, THEA and the IUA. An invitation has been extended to the USI to join this collaboration. 

Teaching & Learning (CELT)

The following are the agreed outputs of this group within the 1-year timeframe we are given for this work:

  • Develop a National Charter for Universal Design in Tertiary Education. -this includes the desire of the group to incorporate FET and look towards a unified tertiary view of UD.
  • Develop a Position Paper exploring and featuring recommendations on how this charter may be built systemically into governing and funding mechanisms.
  • Design and publish the National Charter.
  • Launch the National Charter in conjunction with AHEAD Conference Spring 2024. 

It is envisaged that on completion of the project, institutions would be encouraged to formally adopt the charter as something they are working towards, and that organisations like AHEAD could play an important national role in supporting institutions to adopt and work towards it. The project team also envisages this output being important in the future shaping of institutional policies regarding student success and UDL.

The accompanying Toolkit will support ETBs and HEIs to measure their progress against the 4 pillars and create a reflective action plan for future development in this area.

See the original toolkit which will be updated to reflect the charter consultations and the broadening of applicability to FET contexts here.

 This project would like to seek the high-level support of HEI registrars, and hope that your institutions will both contribute to the planned consultations later in the year and consider adopting the Charter and working towards it on its completion.

The current national UD for 3 Charter Team:

For further information, please feel free to contact our team members: 

Name

Institution/ Organisation

Maureen Haran

ATU

Niamh Plunkett

ATU

Aileen Kennedy

MTU

Margaret Finch

MTU

Catherine Deegan

TUD

Sean O’Reilly

THEA

Declan Reilly

IUA

Jean Reale

MIC

Laura Lee

UCC

Thomas O Shaughnessy

  UL

Neil O’Sullivan

TUD

Dara Ryder

AHEAD

Anne O’Connor

DCU

Elaine Aylward

SETU 

Olive Byrne

UCC

Darragh Coakley

MTU

Sarah Pattinson

MTU

Denise McMorrow

IADT

Colin Tierney

ATU

Declan Treanor

TCD

Laura Rafferty

MTU

Ruth Murphy

MTU

Siobhan Mac Garry

MTU

Kevin Gillligan

MTU

James Northridge

UCC

Gearoid O Suilleabhain

MTU

Erica Meslin

AHEAD

Trevor Boland

DCU

Lisa Padden

UCD

Richard Healy

TCD

Loren Duffy

TCD

Aoife McNicholl

Deirdre McHugh

 

DCU

UofG