Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Listening to the Voices of People with Disabilities

Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Listening to the Voices of People with Disabilities

Karen A. Myers
Saint Louis University

The use of Universal Design (UD) within higher education has primarily been directed towards students with disabilities. In recent years, research has proposed that UD is beneficial to a wide range of students, including, but not limited to, students with disabilities. Students not speaking English as their first language, students who are non-traditional in age, and students with varied learning styles may all benefit from the infusion of UD within higher education. In light of the far reaching potential for access and inclusion that is associated with UD, the ACPA Standing Committee on Disability (SCD) has proposed that UD become a standard framework for designing learning environments within ACPA and for individual member use. Over the course of the next several months, the SCD will be spotlighting the use of UD from various perspectives within higher education including: (a) a disability resource provider, (b) an individual with a disability, (c) a faculty member, and (d) a student affairs professional. This second article is from the perspective of a person with a disability.

 

The Inclusion Judge

 

Who should be the judge of inclusion? Who should determine if inclusion has been attempted and carried out successfully? This question has been on my mind lately. In higher education, departments of disability resources, multicultural education, LGBTA, women, men, spirituality, and community engagement (among others), strive to include all members of the campus community, continually bringing to life Schlossberg’s (1989) theory of marginality and mattering. Some recent examples of such intentional educational programs and events include campus celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, such as Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit , the 2011 Developments Spirituality article series, “Working on Our Inner Lives: Meaning-Making in Colleges and Universities,” and the current Everyone Matters, six-month global social media campaign led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu to foster inclusiveness and reduce intolerance. These and other inclusion initiatives are admirable and will potentially increase awareness and fair-treatment and decrease intolerance and exclusion.

However, going back to my original question about the success of these programs: who will be the judge of inclusion? Will marginalized populations feel included as a result of these efforts? Have their teachers, employers, and co-workers been kinder, more understanding, accommodating, and more inclusive after attending a disability awareness session or reading a disability awareness article? How will we know? My answer is simple: ask them.

Asking people with disabilities, for example, how they feel about their treatment, their perceptions, their accommodations, their access, and the laws pertaining to their equity seems logical, however, it is common for people with disabilities to report they themselves never have been asked. In three separate studies I conducted involving students with disabilities (Myers, 2009; Myers, Jenkins, & Pousson, 2009), many reported it was the first time anyone ever asked them how they felt or what they preferred. And although there are some excellent first-person accounts of higher education professionals in recent literature, such as Job One (see chapter by Deborah McCarthy) and Making Good on the Promise and in Building Pedagogical Curb Cuts (see entries by Nancy Badger, Barbara Palombi, Christopher McDonnell Dennis, Terri Masse-Burrell, Shelly Neal and others), such first-person accounts are limited.

My Personal Story

I am honored to write an article in this series from the perspective of a person with a disability. I seem to have a lifetime of inclusion and exclusion stories, being one of over 20 people in my family with a congenital visual disability resulting in extreme light sensitivity, low visual acuity, and legal blindness. It is liberating for me to be able to write from the perspective of a woman who has been a student, a teacher, an academic administrator, and a student affairs professional—and who is legally blind. I learned from my older siblings that, as a high school student, I needed to ask my teachers for accommodations in order to see the math problem on the board or the conjugation in the Spanish textbook. In an all-female Catholic high school in the late 1960s, there were very few of us who required (or acknowledged we required) academic accommodations, or as they called it at that time, “special treatment.” As my career in higher education progressed, I realized that I needed to be my own advocate for accommodations. Without realizing it, I became an expert at self-advocacy and encouraged my fellow students and co-workers to do the same. From large-print exams and meeting agendas to oversized computer monitors and low-lit office spaces, many items allowed me to do my job efficiently, effectively, and be on a level playing field with my colleagues.

Self-Advocacy, Accommodations, and Universal Design

Truth be told, being a self-advocate for disability-related accommodations can be exhausting. Although it can be extremely rewarding and worth every second of those “educable moments” of reminding teachers to repeat aloud what they have written on a board and reminding supervisors to use a bold high-contrast font in their print materials, it does take time and effort on the part of the person with a disability. For years I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of these accommodations became a natural part of how we (as educators) communicated, interacted, and did business?” Then, about 15 years ago, my answer arrived in the form of Universal Design (UD)—the concept of making goods, environments, and services accessible to all people “to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptable or specialized design” (Center for Universal Design, 1997, p. 1). I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jeanne Higbee from the University of Minnesota, hearing her speak about Universal Instructional Design (UID), and reading her book, Curriculum Transformation and Disability: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education. Since then, we have been good friends and colleagues who work together in spreading the “UID message,” moving universal design principles for architecture to curriculum to student services and beyond.

In Pedagogy and Student Services for Institutional Transformation: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education, Higbee and Goff (2010) address UD and UID principles based on Chickering and Gamson’s (1991) best practices for undergraduate education. These adaptations include the following seven principles: a) creating respectful welcoming environments; b) determining the essential components of a course or program; c) communicating class/program expectations; d) providing constructive feedback; e) exploring the use of natural supports for learning, including technology, to enhance opportunities for all learners; f) designing teaching/instructional methods that consider diverse learning styles, abilities, ways of knowing, and previous experience and background knowledge; g) creating multiple ways for students/employees to demonstrate their knowledge; and h) promoting interaction among and between faculty and students, employers and employees. All of these principles are essential for UD of instruction and student development, and I have used each in my various positions in higher education (i.e., student, faculty, staff, and administrator). For example, as Director of New Student Programs and Director of Disability Services at four distinctly different institutions, I used these principles to promote cohesiveness among my staff and enhance their professional development. Bringing bagels to an early morning meeting, offering chocolates during a one-on-one, providing clear expectations of job responsibilities, and offering timely constructive feedback via multiple modes of communication were just a few ways UID was utilized to attain successful outcomes.

As a person with a disability, I would like to emphasize two principles in particular that, to me, are vital in my own growth and development: 1) creating respectful welcoming environments, and 2) promoting interaction among and between faculty and students/employers and employees. Personally, these go hand-in-hand and allow me to feel valued as a person. A warm welcoming environment that promotes interaction, whether it is a department or faculty office, a classroom, a campus dining facility, a Web site, a department chair/director, or a receptionist on the other end of a telephone, all will determine how I feel about the host and about myself. Does that person/environment respect and value me? Do they sincerely believe that I matter? Examples of creating respectful welcoming environments that promote interaction include: sending welcome e-mails to students, staff, and faculty, learning people’s names, greeting people when passing them in the hall or on campus, being open to meeting with people, encouraging students/faculty/staff to develop peer learning communities, being available to encourage conversation and assistance via email, phone, discussion board, chat rooms, and in person, and encouraging participation and input when developing materials, curriculum, programs, and events. A warm welcoming environment that encourages interaction will open doors for conversations about the additional UID principles, such as natural supports for learning and possible ways to demonstrate knowledge.

Conclusion

I usually begin my disability awareness training sessions with the question, “Have you excluded anyone today?” It is fairly easy for us to say we have included people, but when asked to stop and think if we excluded anyone through our words, our behaviors, or our environments, most of us recall barriers we unintentionally construct that prevent others from entering our world. These barriers might include: small print signage, low-contrast serif fonts on Web sites, e-mails and handouts, curbs with inaccessible walkways, classrooms and meeting rooms with stationary seating and narrow aisles, and videos with no captions. So, what does it mean to you to be included? How do you feel when you are marginalized or excluded? Asking people with disabilities to be the judge of inclusion may be the answer to our questions regarding the success of our inclusion programs, services, and communication techniques. Are our inclusion efforts a success? Is UID working? Let’s ask the people who know.

References

The Center for Universal Design. (1997). The principles of universal design (Version 2.0). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm

Higbee, J. L. (Ed.). (2003). Curriculum transformation and disability: Implementing Universal Design in higher education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy, General College, University of Minnesota.

Higbee, J. L., & Goff, E. (2008). Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation: Implementing Universal Design in higher education. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy.

Higbee, J. L., & Mitchell, Alice A. (2009). Making good on the promise: Student affairs professionals with disabilities. Washington, DC: American College Personnel Association and University Press of America.

Magolda, P. & Carnaghi, J. (2004 ). Job One: Experiences of new professionals in student affairs. Washington, D.C: University Press Of America.

Myers, K. (2009). College students with visual disabilities: Preferences for effective interaction. Germany: VDM Verlag Publications. ISBN# 3639166000

Myers, K., Jenkins, J., Pousson, M. (2009). Social Norms and Disability. ACPA Developments. www.myacpa.org

Schlossberg, N. K. (1989). Marginality and mattering: Key issues in building community. In D.C. Roberts (ed.), Designing campus activities to foster a sense of community. New Directions for Student Services, 48. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

About the Author

Karen Myers is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at Saint Louis University. She is the Co-founder, former Chair, and current Directorate Member and Faculty Liaison of ACPA’s Standing Committee on Disability. Myers is also the 2005 Disability Leadership Award recipient (presented by ACPA’s Standing Committee on Disability).

Please e-mail inquiries to Karen Myers.

Disclaimer

The ideas expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members or the ACPA Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

Creating A Culture of Inclusion: Shifting the Disability Frame

Creating A Culture of Inclusion: Shifting the Disability Frame

Melanie V. Thompson
Northern Illinois University

The use of Universal Design (UD) within higher education has primarily been directed towards students with disabilities. In recent years, research has proposed that UD is beneficial to a wide range of students, including but not limited to students with disabilities.  Students not speaking English as their first language, students who are non-traditional in age, and students with varied learning styles may all benefit from the infusion of UD within higher education.  In light of the far reaching potential for access and inclusion that is associated with UD, the ACPA Standing Committee on Disability (SCD) has proposed that UD become a standard framework for designing learning environments within ACPA and for individual member use.  Over the course of the next several months, the SCD will be spotlighting the use of UD from various perspectives within higher education including: (a) a disability resource provider, (b) a faculty member, (c) an individual with a disability, and (d) a student affairs professional.  The first article, from the Chairperson of the SCD will provide an overview of a UD framework and demonstrate the applicability of UD to disability resources within higher education.

Disability literature abounds with pleas to incorporate Universal Design (UD) within higher education (see Burgstahler & Cory, 2008; Higbee & Goff, 2008).  Currently, there is little reference to UD outside of disability-related research and writing.  Among disability scholars and practitioners, there is belief that the infusion of UD within higher education would improve the engagement and retention of all students, not just students with disabilities.  A handful of federally funded grant programs have set out to prove this.

By infusing UD into education, college students benefit from flexibility, adaptability, and tolerance for error in a supportive learning environment.  By changing the frame through which disability is viewed, institutions can continue to move forward including disability as a tenet of diversity.  Research asserts that as faculty and staff within institutions of higher education include components of UD in and out of the classroom, students with disabilities will have a decreased need for some types of accommodations and encounter fewer barriers. Disability Resource Centers may also benefit from increased use of UD in higher education; using UD may allow more opportunities to concentrate on barrier reduction and individualized problem solving since less time may be devoted to addressing short-term, temporary accommodations.

In light of support for the infusion of UD within higher education, the SCD has proposed to ACPA leadership that a UD framework be utilized within ACPA.  For example, UD could be used to inform the design of professional development, the web site platform and content, and membership materials.  Four SCD members have crafted this Developments series, “Expanding the Frame: Applying Universal Design in Higher Education,” to exemplify the intersections of a UD framework. Professionals in different roles within higher education have each written a part of the series. In the first of this four-part series on UD, I will provide an introduction to UD and discuss how my role as the director of a disability resource center is impacted by the use of a UD framework.  As you read through the series, I invite you to question how you could include UD in the work you do.  How could you inspire others to use UD?  Also, how does UD benefit students on a regular basis, whether those students have disabilities or not?

Universal Design Framework

Ronald L. Mace initially conceptualized UD as “the designing of all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life” (Center for Universal Design, 2010).  Well-known examples include curb cuts, closed captioning, and automatic door openers.  UD has subsequently been applied to education, which has been referred to as Universal Design of Instruction (UDI or UID) (see Burgstahler & Cory, 2008; Campbell, 2004; McGuire & Scott, 2006; Mino, 2004). Roberts, Park, Brown, and Cook (2011) would assert that there is no meaningful distinction between these two terms.  UD has also been applied to learning under the term Universal Design of Learning (UDL) (see Morra & Reynolds, 2010; National Center on Universal Design for Learning, n.d.).  Throughout the SCD UD series you will see reference to UD, UDI, UID, and UDL reflecting each author’s preference.

The Center for Universal Designlocated at North Carolina State University (see http://www.ncsu.edu/project/design-projects/udi/center-for-universal-design/) promotes the following seven principles of UD: (a) equitable use: the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities; (b) flexibility in use: the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities; (c) simple and intuitive use: use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level; (d) perceptible information: the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities; (e) tolerance for error: the design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions; (f) low physical effort: the design can be used efficiently, comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue; and (g) size and space for approach and use: appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.  These principles are the foundation for UD, regardless of the context applied to.  To apply UD principles to instruction, Burgstahler (2008) suggests adopting the following process: (a) identify the course; (b) define the universe; (c) involve students; (d) adopt instructional strategies; (e) apply instructional strategies; (f) plan for accommodations; and (g) evaluate.

When UD principles are applied to instruction, the result is termed Universal Design of Instruction (UDI or UID), which McGuire and Scott (2006) define as “a framework for faculty to use in planning and delivering instruction and assessing of learning outcomes.  The underlying premise is a value system that embraces heterogeneity in learners and espouses high academic standards” (p. 125).  When UD principles are applied to learning, the result is termed Universal design for Learning (UDL).  The National Center on Universal Design for Learning (see http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines) promotes the following three principles of UDL: (a) multiple means of representation; (b) multiple means of expression; and (c) multiple means of engagement.

Regardless of the terminology used, the overarching premise of UD is to be proactive in design and identify multiple ways in which the end goals can be met. The forthcoming articles in this UD series will further demonstrate UD principles. For those wishing to learn more about the principles of UD, recommended readings include Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice (Burgstahler & Cory, 2008), Rethinking Disability: Principles for Professional and Social Change (DePoy & Gilson, 2004) and Making Good on the Promise: Student Affairs Professionals with Disabilities (Higbee & Mitchell, 2009).

UD and Disability Resource Centers: One Perspective

In the fall of 2010, I completed research with 58 faculty and staff in which nearly half (44%) of the respondents reported having had no prior training regarding disability, limited awareness of opportunities to consult regarding accessibility concerns, and limited knowledge regarding barriers faced by students with invisible disabilities (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic medical conditions, and mental health diagnoses).  How could I expect faculty and staff to engage as advocates and allies for inclusion and barrier reduction if they were not aware of barriers, were not aware of consultation resources, and were not aware of the types of disabilities impacting a large percentage of students with disabilities?

During that same research, 35% of the respondents indicated they did not agree that disability was a component of diversity.  One major impetus supporting UD within higher education is the diversity of the student body.  Again I questioned how to identify and develop disability advocates and allies if over one-third of faculty and staff respondents disregarded disability as a tenet of diversity.

Since inclusive environments for diverse students increase retention rates (Lombardi, Gerdes, & Murray, 2011; Merisotis, 2008), I have found it imperative to identify ways faculty and staff can create inclusive environments for individuals with disabilities.  UD principles have been one way I have attempted to do so.  When sharing UD principles with others, whether during consultations, departmental meetings, or through university committee work, I often get an “a-ha” reaction in which the principles of UD are described as “common sense.” Another reaction I have received is that a UD framework may positively impact customer service.  While not an expected reaction to sharing UD, this customer service idea was an “a-ha” moment for me as well, and has positively impacted how I talk about UD within our Center, with staff, and with colleagues.

I have found select constituency groups willing to collaborate and proactively build inclusion for individuals with disabilities, particularly when invested in the outcome. This, I find, is preferable to demanding that groups conform because of legal, federal mandates. Framing UD as a customer service philosophy has resonated with some of these constituency groups.  I am not asserting individuals with disabilities are customers; however, I am saying in order to be student-centered, customer service may be viewed as essential.  If UD principles seem like good customer service principles for some, then using this analogy will remain as one of the many tools I employ to advocate for inclusion of individuals with disabilities.  I share this example more to demonstrate that engaging folks in a conversation about UD can be framed in myriad ways; I have found that finding what is salient to my “audience” goes a long way in building support for infusing UD into higher education.

The current college student population includes more non-traditional age students, veterans, and second-language learners.  Today’s students also represent a range of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds.  As an educational framework, UD is likely to help this range of students, including students with and without disabilities. UD is particularly valuable for students who have invisible disabilities and/or those who do not want to disclose their disabilities. Given the stigma often associated with disability, educators should not be surprised that many students choose not to disclose (Marshak, Van Wieren, Ferrell, Swiss, & Dugan, 2010).  Unfortunately, without disclosure, access to formal support and accommodations is typically unavailable within institutions of higher education.  By providing greater access to the widest range of students through UD, institutions and educators may reduce the need to disclose for some students.

As a disability resource provider and administrator, I have spent countless hours each semester working individually with faculty, staff, and students to resolve accommodation-based concerns.  Faculty have expressed frustration when students do not request accommodations until several weeks into the semester.  Some faculty have questioned the necessity for accommodations when students have requested them midway through their courses.  Staff have voiced frustration when students have not disclosed a disability until experiencing a barrier.  This frustration has frequently been linked to the cost of an accommodation needed to remove a barrier, which may not have been sufficiently budgeted for, if budgeted for at all, and has been linked to disappointment in the result of contributing to the exclusion of students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities have articulated frustration in having to do more than students without disabilities to experience a level playing field, in having to disclose personal information, and having to argue, advocate, and fight for legally protected rights.  Proactively applying a UD framework often can reduce all of these frustrations, simply by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment.

It was stated earlier that increased use of UD may benefit disability resource centers by allowing more opportunities for consultation on barrier reduction and individualized problem solving because less time would be devoted to addressing short-term, temporary accommodations.  Research (Lovett, 2010) has proposed that some accommodations provided on a semester or term basis could be reduced through the use of UD.  For example, some faculty have begun allowing extended time for all students to complete quizzes and exams, or have started to use assessment methods that are not constrained by a set amount of class time. Research (Ofiesh & Hughes, 2002) has suggested that students who do not need extended time do not do any better with extra time.  Conversely, research has also suggested that students who do need extended time and are not allowed it do worse than they would have done with extended time (Ofiesh & Hughes, 2002).  McGuire and Scott (2006) provided examples of how faculty can apply UDL in the classroom, including posting lecture notes online, sharing rubrics and/or models for written assignments, giving students formative feedback on writing assignments, and using varied instructional strategies (e.g., lectures, videos, guest speakers, group activities).

Next Steps

Next steps will vary depending upon individual roles within higher education and familiarity with UD principles. A good starting point is to identify the model of disability you personally embrace. Knowing how you frame disability will allow you to make informed decisions about including UD. Other next steps may include identifying advocates and allies that embrace UD; working with faculty/staff development centers to create trainings on UD; infusing UD into mission, vision, and program objectives; reviewing program requirements and physical locations for barriers; providing alternate format of materials; ensuring that online materials are accessible; and reviewing syllabi for inclusive/accessibility statements.

References

Burgstahler, S. (2008). Universal design of instruction: From principles to practice. In S. Burgstahler, & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (pp. 23-45), Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
Burgstahler, S., & Cory, R. C. (Eds.). (2008). Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Campbell, D. (2004). Assistive technology and universal instruction design: A postsecondary perspective. Equity and Excellence in Education, 37(2), 167-173.

Center for Universal Design. (1997). What is universal design? Retrieved from www.ncsu.edu/www/ncsu/design/sod5/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm
Center for Universal Design. (2010). History of Ronald L. Mace. Retrieved from http://www.ncsu.edu/project/design-projects/udi/center-for-universal-design/ron-mace

DePoy, E., & Filson, S.F. (2004). Rethinking disability: Principles for professional and social change.  Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Higbee, J.L., & Goff, E. (Eds.). (2008). Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation: Implementing universal design in higher education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Research on Development Education and Urban Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED503835.pdf

Higbee, J.L., & Mitchell, A.A. (Eds.). (2009). Making good on the promise: Student affairs professionals with disabilities. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Lombardi, A., Gerdes, H., & Murray, C. (2011). Validating an assessment of individual actions, postsecondary supports, and social supports of college students with disabilities. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(1), 107-126.

Lovett, B.J. (2010). Extended time testing accommodations for students with disabilities: Answers to five fundamental questions. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 611-638.

Marshak, L., Van Wieren, T., Ferrell, D., Swiss, L., & Dugan, C. (2010). Exploring barriers to college student use of disability services. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 22(3), 151-165.

McGuire, J. M., & Scott, S. S. (2006). Universal design for instruction: Extending the universal design paradigm to college instruction. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 19(1), 124-134.

Merisotis, J. P. (2008). Where do we go from here? Reducing inequities and today’s changing demographic. The New England Journal of Higher Education, 22(5), 27-29.

Mino, J. (2004). Planning for inclusion: Using universal instructional design to create a learner-centered community college classroom. Equity and Excellence in Education, 37(2). 154-160.

Morra, T., & Reynolds, J. (2010). Universal design for learning: Application for technology enhanced learning. Inquiry, 15(1), 43-51.
National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (n.d.). [Web site]. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/

Ofiesh, N.S., & Hughes, C.A. (2002). How much time?: A review of the literature on extended test time for postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 16(1), 2-16.

Roberts, K., Park, H-J., Brown, S., & Cook, B. (2011). Universal design for instruction in postsecondary education: A systematic review of empirically based articles. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24(1), 5-15.

 

About the Author

Melanie V. Thompson, Ed.S., NCC, LPC, LMHC, is the Director of the Center for Access-Ability Resources at Northern Illinois University. She also serves as the 2011-2013 Chairperson of the ACPA Standing Committee on Disability. 
 

Please send inquiries to [email protected]

The opinions expressed by Developments author(s) are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members, Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

Project 3R Ends after Three Successful Years

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) college students face different challenges today than in years past. Because of the passage of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, those students are allowed to attend practically any school they want, with the right to equal communication access. That has resulted in a wide dispersion of students into schools that have never worked with the D/HH before. Often, conflicts will arise because the school has limited knowledge and experience in the area of deafness, and does not accommodate the D/HH student properly. This is also complicated by the fact that students aren’t always aware of their rights and options and how to negotiate effectively. The big question is, how can we educate both students and schools, and avoid those conflicts?

Project 3R (Role, Rights, and Responsibilities of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students) can answer that question! This project’s purpose is to develop a curriculum for educating and training college students to become leaders in the future and advocates for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Educating those students will result in a ripple effect, where each teacher and staff they come in contact with will learn something from the experience and be better prepared the next time they encounter a D/HH student. Project 3R recently completed the development of this curriculum, which is now ready for distribution. The curriculum includes two phases:

  • Phase I: This comprehensive training program covers topics ranging from legal issues, advocacy, effective writing, and problem solving. These topics are separated into a series of 11 modules, including pre and post tests, writing exercises, and informative readings. The students participating in the training will first complete the 11 modules online then undergo on-site training lasting two days. The on-site training provides them with an opportunity to discuss in depth the information included in the modules, and perform role playing exercises.
  • Phase II: After participating in the on-site training, the students will be ready to conduct a series of one-hour training sessions upon request at both their own institution and at other postsecondary institutions. Specialized materials are available for three different possible audiences: faculty, administrators, and students.

The curriculum was developed based on input from faculty, administrators, and students from around the country, along with feedback from hands-on testing. Fifty students, mostly from the “big three” – California State University, Northridge, Gallaudet University, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology participated in Phase I testing. They provided valuable input in how to improve the training of student leadersprogram. During Phase II, a number of those students went to a variety of postsecondary institutions to test the one-hour training sessions. One interesting observation made during Phase II was that faculty and administrators reacted enthusiastically to our students, and took advantage of the opportunity to get input directly from the students on how to resolve a variety of issues they’ve encountered with D/HH students.

The curriculum is available on paper, multimedia CD-ROM, and online. The paper copy and CD-ROM are available free of charge. To obtain your copy, contact us via email or phone and we’ll be more than happy to send you one!

 

Until December 16, 2005:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (866) 621-2933 (V/TTY)

 

 

After December 16, 2005:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (818) 677-2099 (V/TTY)

 

The 3R website has information specifically for faculty and administrators who are new to working with D/HH students. It includes a quick reference guide with a compendium of tips, strategies, and other relevant information. Go to our website at http://3r.csun.edu, and click on either the Faculty or the Administrator link.

The Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Project is a three year federal grant funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. The grant expires December 31, 2005. If you’re interested in finding out more about the 3R project, check out our website at http://3r.csun.edu or call (818) 677-2099 (V/TTY).

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has the largest mainstream program for deaf and hard of hearing students in the western U.S. Over 32,000 students attend CSUN and more than 200 of them are deaf or hard of hearing. Founded in 1962, the National Center on Deafness has provided student services, outreach and research facilities to and for deaf and hard of hearing CSUN students successfully for over forty years. NCOD strives to help meet the educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing students by making all university programs and services fully accessible. For more information on NCOD, check http://ncod.csun.edu or call (818) 677-2611 (V/TTY).

Project 3R would like to thank the following institutions for hosting training sessions and for their assistance and input: Camden County Community College (NJ), Johnson County Community College (KS), Los Angeles Pierce College (CA), Montgomery College (MD), Ohlone College (CA), Santa Rosa College (CA), The University of Minnesota, and Utah Valley State College.