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Learn to Create a More Accessible World through New Universal Design Program at UK

Published: June 1, 2016

From design students to special education teachers, individuals passionate about creating environments where all types of individuals thrive – regardless of age and ability – can now receive universal design instruction and training at the University of Kentucky.

“Universal design utilizes a broad set of strategies that promote inclusion and participation of all, particularly people with disabilities, within a diverse world,” said Kathy Sheppard-Jones, director of the UK Human Development Institute (HDI). “Because UD is highly interdisciplinary, students will find relevance to their own areas of interest regardless of major.”

The new Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design is offered by the UK HDI and housed within the Division of Undergraduate Education, however, post-baccalaureate students may also apply to participate.

Nineteen faculty across 12 colleges will be involved in administering the interdisciplinary program. From public health to engineering and education to design, the program will enhance understanding of universal design as it specifically relates to a range of careers.

“This certificate will benefit anyone who wants to ensure that programs, products and environments are accessible by the widest array of users possible,” Sheppard-Jones said. “For example, a social work student who is developing a community outreach training would be thinking about how to present the materials using universal design for learning principles to better engage the entire audience. Universal design is about considering diverse needs and wants from the start.”

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