For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop

CRDEUL celebrates new PASS IT grant

During spring 2005 the Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy (CRDEUL), the General College (GC), and the University’s Disability Services (DS) office collaborated on a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for “Pedagogy and Student Services for Institutional Transformation (PASS IT): Implementing Universal Design by Training Professionals to Train Others.” The proposal was developed by a committee of GC faculty and staff members who responded to an announcement in GC-All, the college’s listserv, seeking interested collaborators. In September CRDEUL learned that the proposal had been funded through the federal “Demonstration Projects to Ensure Students With Disabilities Receive a Quality Higher Education” competition. Emily Goff, who has worked on several CRDEUL publications over the past 18 months, as well as serving as Associate Editor of The Learning Assistance Review, is the project coordinator. General College staff and faculty involved in the project are David Arendale, Heidi Barajas, Carole Broad, Tom Brothen, Harvey Carlson, Bob Copeland, Renee DeLong, Irene Duranczyk, Annia Fayon, David Ghere, Jay Hatch, Jeanne Higbee (Project Director), Amy Kampsen, Dana Lundell, Na’im Madyun, Pat James, Don Opitz, Bob Poch, Bruce Schelske, and Mary Ellen Shaw Representing Disability Services on the project are Bobbi Cordano, Betty Benson, and Peggy Mann Rinehart.

The PASS IT project is the “logical next step” to follow up on a previous collaboration between GC, CRDEUL, and DS, the Curriculum Transformation and Disability (CTAD) project that was completed in 2002. CTAD culminated in numerous publications, including journal and monograph articles, a guidebook for developing training sessions, and the book, Curriculum Transformation and Disability: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education.

PASS IT seeks to address a compelling need in higher education by developing a corps of trainers to facilitate professional development workshops in the implementation of Universal Design (UD) and Universal Instructional Design (UID) in higher education. UID, an adaptation of the architectural concept of Universal Design, is a relatively new model for providing access to higher education for students with disabilities. Through UD and UID, staff and faculty create more welcoming spaces for all students by rethinking professional practices to develop curricula and programs that are inclusive for all learners. When faculty and staff implement UD and UID as they begin planning for a course, program, or activity by taking into consideration the strengths and challenges of all students, they reduce or eliminate the need to provide last-minute accommodations or to segregate students on the basis of individual needs.

Many professionals who work in postsecondary disability services are well informed about Universal Design and Universal Instructional Design. However, the word has not spread to many professionals who might implement UD and UID in their daily practice, specifically faculty members and student services personnel, who are the focus of this project. PASS IT will seek to inform and equip postsecondary educators to implement UID using a “train the trainer” (or “pass it on”) format. By offering summer institutes, workshops at professional meetings, and departmental in-service training, and also creating a national database of trainers and professional development tools, discipline-specific guidebooks that will be accessible in multiple formats, and a video, this project will educate faculty members and student services professionals who can teach others and disseminate materials that focus on implementing Universal Instructional Design in specific disciplinary and administrative areas.

Each of the project faculty and staff members will be involved in making presentations at professional meetings in their areas of expertise over the 3 years of the grant. In addition, each of the 30 participants in the Year 1 Summer Institute will be expected to provide an in-service training workshop at his or her home campus as well as a session at a professional conference. Even if participation in each workshop provided is a mere 10 faculty and staff members, it is anticipated that in the first year of the grant more than 250 professionals will learn how to implement UD and UID in their daily practice, and an additional 800 or more will be involved in professional development in the second year. By the third year, when the national database of trainers is implemented, and participants in the Year 2 Summer Institute are spearheading institution-wide efforts on their home campuses, the project will impact more than 1,000 faculty and staff. What is more important, however, is that each of these administrators and faculty and student affairs staff members will be making their courses, programs, and services more inclusive for students on their campuses for years to come, and will also mentor others in implementing Universal Design and Universal Instructional Design. Ultimately, we hope that this model will be applied more broadly to provide the foundation for new theoretical work and research and practice in multicultural higher education.

The first PASS IT summer institute will be held August 2-4, 2006. For further information contact Emily Goff at

Revised January 6, 2006