University for All

Mainstreaming Access and Participation in UCD

University for All is an initiative to move the work of access and widening participation from the margins to the mainstream, using the principles of Universal Design. This initiative demonstrates that we are an open and welcoming university, and believe that higher education should be an option for all students: realising aspirations, opening pathways and enabling students to fulfil their potential. The work of access and participation historically may have been seen as an addition to the central work of higher education; now the University has placed mainstreaming and inclusion at the core making diversity a part of everyday life on campus. ‘University for All’ makes access everyone’s business and ensures we are all working towards a diverse and inclusive university community. 


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UCD has a long and proud history of inclusion and diversification. Cardinal John Henry Newman founded the University in 1854 to provide access to higher education for the Catholic population: access is in UCD’s DNA. Recognising the need for a systemic response to embed the principle of equity of access, the University is implementing a universally designed and inclusive approach to access and participation.

Phase 1: Building Foundations

This phase addressed the underpinning strategy and structures needed to build a foundation on which to develop a mainstream approach to inclusion, access and participation.

Phase 2: Harnessing Commitment

In this phase we harnessed the commitment and enthusiasm of individual University staff.

Phase 3: University for All

This phase will build on earlier developments by focusing on the creation of a ‘ripple effect’ to extend mainstreaming and inclusive practice throughout the campus.

1.    Show your Support!
Show that you agree with our guiding principles by wearing the University for All pin, and/or displaying the principles below in your office, place of work, on your website etc.
2.    Use our Simple Strategies in your own work.
Integrate the principles of Universal Design in your area of work.
Use the principles of Plain English in your content creation.
Follow our guidelines to ensure you produce accessible documents and other communication materials.
3.    Professional Development and Digital Badges
Attend professional development workshops and other training.
Work to be awarded a digital badge in one of the following areas: Mainstreaming Inclusion Practitioner, Mainstreaming Inclusion Champion, Universal Design for Teaching & Learning
4.    Develop your Own Projects
Identify areas where we could improve the inclusivity of our university and work with UCD Access & Lifelong Learning and the UCD Widening Participation Committee to develop a project to implement improvement.
Publish the results of your project as an example of good practice from which your colleagues can learn and improve their own work.

We support the University for All Guiding Principles:

  1. Mainstreaming Inclusion is the job of the entire University community and is the responsibility of all.
  2. Everyone has the right to equal participation and engagement in Higher Education.
  3. Our student body entering, participating in and completing higher education must reflect the diversity of the global population.
  4. Widening Participation means ensuring all students can access Higher Education and that they have an equal opportunity to progress and succeed within and beyond University.
  5. To achieve University for All we must engage with everyone—students, faculty, practitioners, community partners, educators, researchers and policy makers.
  6. Our University believes that excellence is achieved through diversity.