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The Student Role in our University for All

The student role in embedding inclusion and creating a University for All can at times be overlooked in strategies which focus solely on professional development for staff and faculty. In UCD we have ensured that the student remains firmly at the heart of our Universal Design work through the development of campaigns and programmes which include students meaningfully at every step. Current student-focused activities include:

Orientation: An online 15-minute learning object for all students introducing them to inclusion in UCD, including Universal Design.  This short piece is embedded in an ‘Introduction to UCD’ module on Brightspace for all incoming students, with tailored versions for undergraduate and graduate students. This orientation programme is a strategic collaboration with UCD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. 

Access Leader Programme: Access Leaders are a group of access students who have been selected to represent UCD Access and Lifelong Learning and play a vital role in assisting us with our work. Access Leaders’ first-hand understanding of UCD’s diverse entry pathways and of the journey students have taken to be here means they are uniquely placed to help incoming students adjust to their new environment. Their presence, voice, and own experiences help reassure newer students that their goals are achievable. Vitally, our Access Leaders are involved in a variety of activities across the campus and beyond. Access Leaders are provided with an extensive on-going training programme equipping them with skills and knowledge of Universal Design, Leadership, Teamwork and a number of other key areas. 

Advocacy and Representation: Access Students work as advocates for Universal Design in local and institutional workshops/training and are part of the membership of local and institutional committees and working groups.

New Strategic Initiatives

With the support of the PATH 4 fund which focuses on Universal Design capacity building we are developing an additional advanced suite of training for students including a pilot learning unit, Universal Design training and advocacy coaching. 

University for All Academic Internships: To aid in the acceleration of the student programmes outlined here we have developed a University for All Academic Internship. Two interns who are currently studying Sociology and Social Justice in UCD have now been recruited and will begin work with us in January 2023.

Universal Design, Advocacy and Equity Training: In 2023 we will develop a pilot training course for students, which will introduce them to Universal Design and the skills of advocacy, as well explore the myth of meritocracy. This training will be promoted among Access Leaders but be available for any student of the university. 

University for All Student Partnership Programme: Students will be recruited through a competitive process to be part of Universal Design training and dissemination in their programme. Student Partners will be fully trained in Universal Design and work with Professional Staff Partners and Faculty Partners to run Universal Design training sessions, design and implement Universal Design initiatives and projects and be advocates for Universal Design in their own programme, institutionally and nationally. 

University for All

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