KEYNOTE: AHEAD Ireland FET Project
Do you want to be inspired by the story of how Universal design for Learning (UDL) is being introduced to the Further Education and Training (FET) Sector in Ireland? If so, in this session you’ll learn about how in 2018, SOLAS (state authority for FET in Ireland), commissioned AHEAD to explore the theory of UDL and collaboratively develop guidance for the sector.
SOLAS set up a National Advisory Committee (NAC) comprised of key stakeholders to guide the development of the UDL for FET Practitioners guidance and to build a collaborative process to develop UDL for FET. This session will show how the CAST UDL model gave us a framework to bridge the gap between theory and practice and how real stories from practitioners in the sector inspired their colleagues to get started. It will talk about the consultation process that involved key stakeholders from day one and got their buy in and commitment to UDL for FET. Hear how we reached out to the sector to gather stories of good practice that brought the UDL principles to life in a very real, localised and authentic way. This session will also explore how SOLAS support the implementation of UDL for FET with the inclusion of high-level strategic priorities incorporated in their new national strategy for FET in Ireland. Thus, the project and associated SOLAS strategies seek to create both top down and bottom up momentum for the implementation of UDL.
Creating places of belonging for those living with disability: Going beyond diversity and inclusion in post-secondary education
I first entered higher education as a student seven years prior to the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992. When I graduated in 1989, it took over one hundred job interviews before I was finally successful. Since this time, the concepts of ‘cultural competence’, ‘cultural responsive’, ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ have become familiar terms in post-secondary education and beyond. They are evident in, for example, strategic plans, Policies, standards, and graduate qualities for university students. But what do such concepts mean in practice and are they working? In this presentation I will draw upon my experience of being Australia’s only known Aboriginal female academic living with vision impairment and working with a guide dog. Achieving and maintaining this position requires persistency, innovativeness, and collaboration with allies, those savvy people who ‘get it’. I will share with you why I argue that goals of diversity and inclusion are not enough. That instead we need to be creating places of belonging for those who have been marginalised and understood as being in deficit, a problem to be fixed and not understood as an asset for success.
Panel Session: Student Experience
This panel session will explore the experiences of students with disability in Tertiary Education. Current and Alumni Students from Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education will share their study journey including what has worked well or could have worked better. The session will be facilitated by Graeme Innes AM and will cover topics such as inclusion, access, reasonable adjustments and challenges and successes within tertiary education and transition into employment.