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Faculty perspectives on UDL: exploring bridges and barriers for broader adoption in higher education

Faculty Advisor




Universal Design for Learning (UDL), higher education, faculty, inclusion

Abstract (summary)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies aim to reduce learning barriers in the classroom for all students and remove the need for students with disabilities to advocate on their own behalf. Leadership in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has a role to play in advancing inclusive learning cultures in higher education. At the frontline of higher education delivery, faculty are best positioned to implement UDL practices. Initiatives to encourage broader implementation of UDL require an understanding of the barriers and opportunities in higher education. Published studies that investigate faculty understanding and implementation of UDL have been almost exclusively conducted in US institutions. Our study enriches the existing literature through a mixed methods approach withinterviews and a faculty survey in a Canadian context. Themes revealed in our interviews were reinforced by survey findings. Many of the issues raised by faculty, including time and resource constraints, a lack of institutional support, and a lack of understanding are consistent with previous research done in the US, highlighting the systemic challenges for UDL implementation in higher education. To conclude, we explore the limits of a strictly bottom-up approach and contend, in line with recent studies, that top-down initiatives are also vital to encouraging broader implementation of UDL practices.

Publication Information

Hills, M., Overend, A., & Hildebrandt, S. (2022). Faculty Perspectives on UDL: Exploring Bridges and Barriers for Broader Adoption in Higher Education. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13(1).


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