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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
This paper will explore the evolution of one of the key roles on campus for students with a disability in the context of Universal Design for Learning - that of the Disability Officer. The role of Disability Officer, while neither a teacher or a learner – is primarily occupied with all those engaged in making learning accessible. It is a role that is very much part of the learning experience for any student with a disability. The challenge for Disability Officers on a UDL campus is that while they are part of the learning environment on campus they - similar to other non-teaching professionals - can find it challenging to position themselves on the current UDL framework. In recent years Disability Officers in Ireland started an exploratory journey on their role in the future of Higher Education on a UDL campus and developed the first role document. As higher education becomes more attainable, curriculum develops and technology improves; making decisions about what will work for a student with a disability can require knowledge and expertise about not just teaching and learning, but also disability in the learning environment in and of itself. In creating this document, it became increasingly evident that UDL on campus was transforming not just the world of the student but also the world of others on campus, including that of the disability officer. Thus, while UDL is making waves on campus and redesigning not just pedagogical approaches; is it timely to explore the UDL principles and ask – what do we mean by learning community.
Quirke, M. et al. (2018) Tomorrows Disability Officer - A Cornerstone on the Universal Design Campus ‘there are no strangers here – only friends you haven’t met yet” - W B Yeats,Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress, 30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle