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Universal Design for Learning

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UDL: Facilitate Access, Inclusion, and Better Outcomes for ALL Dickinsonians!

 Hot off the press! James D'Annibale, Director of Academic Technology (with input from Marni Jones) has created this user-friendly UDL Toolkit that can help you identify ways to make your courses more inclusive and accessible to the diverse learners in your classes. (Check it out!) A version for administrative staff will be available in the spring. 

 Faculty: if you haven't done so yet, please take our brief survey about your knowledge and use (or non-use) of UDL! 
(The survey also includes a chance to express interest in taking part in a "How to Accommodate with Fewer Accommodations Using the Inclusive Pedagogy of UDL" faculty dialogue session.)

► Staff and Faculty: If you're interested in scheduling a training or consultation on any aspect of UDL (or other accessible practices) -- either for yourself, another individual, or your department -- please complete this form.

► Session Feedback: If you attended a UDL session, please take a few minutes to provide us with feedback using this form


Universal Design, in a nutshell, means designing an environment that is universally ideal for everyone (as opposed to just certain individuals, such as those with disabilities).
Examples of universal design solutions that benefit everyone include:

  • elevators
  • sliding glass doors
  • curb cuts where sidewalks abut intersections
  • closed captioning on video screens (especially in places like restaurants or airports).

As a college, the more we know about and implement Universal Design, the better we'll be addressing the needs of every member of our community. 


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an inclusive pedagogy and best-practices approach that uses a framework devised to optimize accessibility, engagement, inclusion, and learning for diverse groups of students based on scientific insights into how people learn best. Research has found that successful classes are those that employ the 3 tenets of Universal Design: 

  1. multiple modes of presenting information,
  2. multiple ways to actively engage students, and
  3. multiple means of assessing knowledge. 

UDL’s goal is to maximize access and inclusion for all diverse learners and to minimize the need for individual adaptations or accommodations. 

Here's some basic information about UDL in Higher Education, and here's an explanatory video series that addresses "What is Universal Design for Learning?

The following additional resources for faculty were created by Marni Jones (Dean and Executive Director of Access and Disability Services (ADS) and SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources):

And here are some great UDL inclusive pedagogy resources from others:

Finally, there is an abundance of helpful guidance from colleges and universities across the US that are successfully incorporating UDL/UDI in their curricula. Here are two great examples:

This page is managed by Marni Jones, who is available, along with James D'Annibale, to provide guidance on Universal Design. 
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email her at