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Collection of action shots for the 2024 University for All Symposium

Exploring Belonging and Sharing Practice at the University for All Symposium

“How we do our work is as important as the work we do”: Sarah Diedro Jordão

While the sun usually shines for the UCD Access & Lifelong Learning annual symposium we did have grey skies over Belfield on the 23rd of May this year. However,, it is safe to say that spirits and ideas were in no way dampened as members of the UCD community and colleagues from across higher and further education gathered together for the University for All Symposium 2024.

An annual event known for showcasing innovative examples of inclusive practice and Universal Design (UD), this year held special significance as we saw the launch of two welcome and exciting additions to the Access sector. Dr Bairbre Fleming opened proceedings with the Director's Welcome and hosted the event. 

UCD Registrar Professor Colin Scott launched ‘Unlocking Inclusion’ the second edition of our Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education. Already a much beloved tool in UD workshops, this publication builds upon the original toolkit while maintaining its premise of offering practical guidance and benchmarks for UD implementation across the four pillars of an inclusive campus.

Following what is now becoming the signature Symposium ice-cream break, the UCD Access & Lifelong Learning team were joined by our partners in AHEAD to launch ‘Beyond the Classroom’, a digital badge in Universal Design for higher and further education professionals outside of teaching roles. This badge has been a long time necessity in the sector and was developed with wide consultation and input from the higher and further education sectors. Dr Bairbre Fleming, project lead on the Badge development, emphasised that the Badge offered parity of esteem for professional staff colleagues and recognised those working in the 'third space'.

A reall highlight of the day was Sarah Diedro Jordão’s keynote address on the role of Belonging in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movements. As summarised by Dr Lisa Padden, Sarah’s framing of belonging as the opportunity to be entirely and unapologetically oneself in a space, the thought-provoking keynote encouraged attendees to collaborate and discuss their biggest hopes and limitless solutions for progressing inclusivity in UCD. Examining the reasons for which Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) movements may stagnate or fail in large institutions, Sarah underlined the necessity of collaboration and accountability in our accessibility endeavours. Stating, “How we do our work is as important as the work we do,” Sarah encouraged attendees to treat one another with kindness and respect, and to reflect on why we pursue social justice initiatives, our roles within them and the benefits of embracing diversity within our DEIB movements.

The afternoon session showcased how the University for All community has thrived within UCD over the last year. Lightning presentations demonstrated the passion, innovation and genuine enthusiasm for promoting inclusion via Universal Design principles that exists in all areas of the UCD community. Members of the Faculty Partnership Programme, the Professional Staff Partnership Programme and the Student Partners demonstrated how they have advocated for equity and change in their respective fields. Addressing everything from student orientation to AI in assessment, a common thread existed in all of these projects: a sincere desire to cultivate a sustainable community where all members can belong. Belonging in education enables all of us to thrive.

Dr Bairbre Fleming, Ciara McGarry Quinn, Fiona Sweeney, Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy, Dr Hannagh McGinley, Professor Colin Scott

"Hand the Shame Back" Report Launched

UCD Access and Lifelong Learning were delighted to launch the research report titled "Hand the Shame Back" - A Qualitative Study of Traveller Experiences Across the Continuum - Enabling a University for All by Dr. Hannagh McGinley in UCD on Thursday, 2nd of May 2024.
The study employed a Participatory Action Research approach which significantly contributed to the research design and analysis of the research findings. The findings presented in this research report on Traveller experiences across the continuum of education. These experiences are critical to understanding the deeply ingrained practices and structures that impact Traveller's access to and engagement in higher education.
Thank you to the Registrar, Deputy President, and Vice President of Academic Affairs of UCD, Professor Colin Scott, for officially launching the report. Congratulations to Dr. Hannah McGinley for presenting her research findings and recommendations.
Special thanks to our panel of speakers, which included Senator Eileen Flynn, Oein DeBhairduin, Annmarie McDonagh, and Bernard Sweeney.

Collage of students at the University for All Roadshow

University for All Roadshow 2024

The purpose of the Roadshow this year was to promote the University for All Student Survey and Universal Design and inclusion more generally across the campus. This year, the University for All Student Partner Programme took the lead on planning and executing this event which occurs annually every February. Four locations on campus were chosen in order to maximise student engagement and interactions. Student Partners shared information about Universal Design, the University for All initiative, and how all students have a role in making UCD inclusive. They also listened to students, as they fed back on their experiences of UCD and their thoughts and ideas of how the University can be more inclusive for everyone. These interactions will help shape the Partnership Programme over the coming year and highlight the most pressing issues facing students. 

The Roadshow and Survey were the focus of a sustained social media campaign designed and executed by the Student Partners. The University for All Survey runs every four years and the data gathered highlights areas of inclusive practice across teaching & learning, students supports & services, the built environment and IT infrastructure in UCD. It also highlights the challenges that remain and areas for improvement. All students were asked to complete this survey anonymously and to have their voices heard on a variety of access and inclusion issues. Over 2,100 responses were collected and the analysis of this is ongoing over Summer 2024.

3 ladies each holding a book with an apple on the cover

University for All Book Launch

This Routledge publication, "Making Inclusive Higher Education a Reality: Creating a University for ALL", edited by Anna M. Kelly, Lisa Padden and Bairbre Fleming, is based on research, evidence and practice in the field of access and inclusion in higher education. Uniquely, this book is the culmination of a decade-long journey to create a university for all.

Revealing higher education inclusive practice in action, this key title showcases a range of international case studies from a number of universities in order to highlight approaches to developing a culture of access and inclusion. It provides detailed information on how to transform institutional commitment to access and diversity into systemic change and the creation of a university for all.

Providing a whole-institution perspective of student access and inclusion, citing case studies from within UCD and sharing real world experience internationally, this book will appeal to academic leaders, faculty and professionals in higher education, as well as policy makers. 

The University for All Team were delighted to launch the publication of their new book "Making Inclusive Higher Education a Reality: Creating a University for All" on Tuesday 30 May with friends, family, supporters and colleagues. Special thanks to Professor Barbara Dooley, Acting Registrar and Deputy President and alumna Joy-Tendai Kangere BL for launching the book.

Copies can be purchased via the (opens in a new window)Routledge website

photograph of 4 people smiling with each person holding a book

University for All Faculty Partnership Case Studies

UCD Access and Lifelong Learning (ALL) launched ‘Learning from UDL Leaders: UCD University for All Faculty Partners’, on the 1st of February 2023 in the UCD University Club. This publication is an output of the University for All Faculty Partnership Programme developed in collaboration with UCD Teaching & Learning and UCD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and with oversight from the University’s Widening Participation Committee. The fourth in a series of Universal Design for Learning case studies published by UCD, this volume is edited by Lisa Padden, Daniel Elliott, Julie Tonge and Sheena Hyland. The collection includes 26 case studies from across all of UCD’s six Colleges. 

At College level the Faculty Partners have been collaborating to integrate UDL systemically and have formed leadership teams to spread UDL throughout their disciplines. UCD’s commitment to implementing Universal Design is clearly demonstrated in this publication.

Universal Design for learning (UDL) is a framework to assist with developing educational experiences which are inclusive of all students. By implementing more flexible teaching, assessment, and service delivery strategies to accommodate the variety of learners in classrooms, UDL seeks to embed equity throughout the student journey. The University for All initiative has paved the way for the implementation of UDL not just in UCD but nationally through a series of strategic collaborations.

The case studies are a valuable resource for colleagues in UCD and across the sector and add significantly to the body of work in this area. Each case study includes details on how UDL impacts students and also offers open education resources which can be adapted and used by others in their own practice. 

"Learning from UDL Leaders: UCD University for All Faculty Partners’, offers a timely, practical and a much-needed resource to support this vision and create a university for all. Written by 26 members of academic staff, appointed as UCD University for All Faculty Partners, this publication comprises easily transferable discipline-specific case studies that offer valuable insights and practical strategies to apply Universal Design across a wide range of subjects.” -Professor Barbara Dooley, Acting Registrar, UCD.

Learning from UDL Leaders Case Studies Publication

University for All

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: UniversityforAll@ucd.ie