Promoting the Universal Design Paradigm on Campus—Everywhere

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Meadowbrook I/II on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.



  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Accessible Technology Services, University of Washington
  • Alaina Beaver, Universal Instructional Design Consultant, University of Colorado Boulder

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Expert
  • Type of session: General Conference


Learn strategies for promoting universal design of all aspects of the college or university experience, including instruction, student services and technology.


UD has emerged as a paradigm to address diversity and equity in the design of a broad range of applications, including educational software, instruction, and student services. UD has a rich history in applications to commercial products and architecture. This presentation includes historical highlights, design approaches, the definition and principles of UD, the process of UD, and applications of UD in higher education. The presenters will share specific practices for promoting the application of UD and point to useful resources, including the newly published second edition of Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice, in which more than forty authors share research and practice with respect to the application of UD by individuals, institutions, and associations. The presenters will share how promoting the UD paradigm to all aspects of campus life can influence the expectation that technology procured, developed and used on campus will be accessible too.


  1. How universal design can be applied to technology, services, physical spaces, and instruction
  2. Specific activities can promote the application of UD campus-wide
  3. Resources are available to help institutions apply UD.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, Other, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology

Speaker Bio(s)

Sheryl Burgstahler

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs Accessible Technology Services, which includes the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the IT Accessibility Team within UW-IT at the University of Washington (UW). These units promote (1) the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers and (2) the development of facilities, IT, services, and learning activities that are welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities through the application of a Universal Design (UD) Framework. ITAT focuses efforts at the UW; the DO-IT Center reaches national and international audiences with the support of federal, state, corporate, foundation, and private funds. Dr. Burgstahler is an affiliate professor in the UW College of Education. She developed and continues to teach a graduate course in applications of universal design in higher education at City University of New York.

Alaina Beaver

Alaina Beaver is a Universal Instructional Design Consultant at the University of Colorado–Boulder. She and her colleagues promote that accessible design of onsite and and on-site instruction campus-wide and support faculty and staff in these efforts.