Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Seminar Series

Reshaping Access & Inclusion in Higher Education

UCD University for All Seminar Series

This seminar series uses the lens of University for All to consider access and inclusion practice and research in the post-secondary education sector both nationally and internationally. Below you will find recordings of all seminars, including the third in the series held on 17 November 2021.

In 2020 we conducted our first University for All survey with the full student and staff community in UCD. In this seminar we explored the initial findings from this dataset which has provided us with the baseline for our initiative in UCD. This seminar provided:

  • An understanding of the University for All initiative - purpose, practice and implementation
  • An overview of this part of the research framework for University for All
  • An insight in to student and staff perceptions of access and inclusion in UCD

This seminar showcased the work of UCD Estate Services to reimagine the built environment through student-centred design focused on accessibility and inclusion. We also presented student and staff feedback on the built environment from our recent University for All research. Using a case study approach the seminar included a number of speakers exploring:

  • Impactful application of inclusive design in a legacy campus environment - making a big difference with small changes.
  • Embedding accessibility and inclusion in future campus design - putting inclusion first in the design process.
  • Creating campus community through student-centred design - making the built environment work for students.


  • Dr Anna Kelly, Dr Bairbre Fleming & Dr Lisa Padden, UCD University for All Project Team
  • Mr Eoin O’Herlihy, Managing Director at OHAC (O’Herlihy Access Consultancy)
  • Mr Gopal Naidoo, Director at RKD
  • Mr Tadgh Corcoran, UCD Director of Estates – Campus Development
  • Mr Tom Hamill, Estates Operations Manager, UCD Estate Services
  • Ms Fiona Sweeney & Ms Tina Lowe, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning

Date: Tuesday 18th of May

Time: 12-1pm

“The moment we decide to fulfill something, we can do anything” - Greta Thunberg

This seminar is the third in the series which questions assumptions, challenges narratives and proposes system change to ensure an inclusive educational experience for all. It evokes the power of the student voice as modelled by Greta Thunberg who reminds us that individuals have the power to create systemic change. At the heart of University for All lies the concept that ‘a student is a student’. This seminar will outline how students are shaping the Access agenda and challenging assumptions. We will outline how students have disrupted our thinking and reshaped how we include all students in our university through culture change. 

You will hear a number of examples of students as agents of change in the university and we will explore how the role of students has evolved as widening participation in higher education has moved beyond opening doors to enacting systemic change in every aspect of our university. You will learn about how access professionals can create a culture of innovation and creativity to be proactive, rather than reactive, to student challenges, enabling students to be autonomous, independent, effective learners. We will address the questions:

  • How do we ensure true collaboration and a leadership role for students?
  • What is the role of Universal Design in ensuring student success?
  • How can power be shared with students? Legislation, Policy, Practice?


  • Professor Mark Rogers, Registrar and Deputy President, UCD - Leading System Change/Towards a University for All
  • Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
  • Simon O'Connor, Director, MoLI - Museum of Literature Ireland - Democratising Culture
  • Dr Bairbre Fleming, Deputy Director, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning - Moving from Empathy to Empowerment in Student Support 
  • UCD Students: Amy Hassett, Anu Bode Favours and Tobias Gunning
  • Ruairi Power, UCD Students’ Union President
  • Dr Anna Kelly, Director, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning

26 May 2022: As we return to campus and relative normality, we are coming to realize that 'normal' has changed. Some faculty have observed changes in student success and engagement, in our Covid world. With this in mind, we have devised the forthcoming University for All Seminar to consider ‘Enhancing student engagement in a COVID world – is universal design the answer?'

Presentations from UCD's University for All Faculty Partners will explore transferable and practical UDL interventions applicable across disciplines.

We are honoured that the seminar will be opened by the UCD President and the keynote address will be given by global expert on universal design for learning Thomas J Tobin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will showcase techniques for lowering engagement barriers for all students, producing students that feel "part of" and not "apart from" their college experience.

University for All

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