Universal Design for Learning – License to Learn

A European perspective on UDL

Tuesday June 28th 2016 & Wednesday June 29th 2016. Ghent, Belgium


Tuesday June 28th


Registration and coffee/tea



By Frederik D’hulster, Vice-rector Education and International Affairs Howest University College (Belgium).

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Introduction by project manager Kjetil Knarlag (Universell, Norway)

Project manager Kjetil Knarlag (Universell, Norway) introduces the project Universal Design for Learning – License to Learn (UDLL), the process and outcomes.

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The student’s engagement

“And if you want to know how hard it is for, just ask. The best of you always do. Give us these things and we all become part of the plan. A connected part of the whole. Like the intricate parts of a watch but less separate.”

When we consider todays student in higher education, we also think about engagement ( or lack of), success and challenges, employability, student retention, student demands, statistics and sometimes, diversity.

We decided to meet with and engage with students and find out what they think about UDL, learning and being a student – being a learner today. This is an extract taken from a poem written by students as part of the UDLL project. This presentation will introduce you to the students of today and ask, what can we learn from them?

10.45 -11.15



Balancing teaching, learning and assessment

The role of the academic as a teacher and facilitator for the learning of all students, cannot be underestimated. What is the role of the academic within the UDL-framework? How can we create a culture where students feel they can learn together? How can we address the diversity, not only by creating an ‘open door’, but also by our daily practice? What’s the role of assessment? Which support do we need as academics to make this all happen? And how can we be good researchers and at the same time become good teachers to our students?

Together with our audience we find some answers to these questions. The presenters were involved in the UDLL project. They were very enthusiastic to think about the role of teaching, learning, assessment and research and have some solutions to challenging practices in higher education! Let yourself inspire by them!

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Leif D. Houck (Norway) Elke Emmers (Belgium) Marian McCarthy (Ireland)



Vision and strategies

Teaching and learning in Higher education is changing due to development of technology and new pedagogical methods. How can we create and shape realistic and feasible policies that makes the higher education institutions follow up on their responsibility to include the diversity of different learners and disabilities?

Three managers from Ireland, representing different layers of leadership, are interviewed about how management can develop, support and implement sustainable and reasonable policy to ensure diversity in Higher Education through ordinary solutions.

Presenters are Laurence McNutt (Head of Support Team at Technological University for Dublin), Brian Corcoran (Associate Dean of Education, Faculty of Engineering and Computing in Dublin City University) and Gerald Craddock (Chief Officer at Centre of Excellence and Universal Design in Ireland). Moderator is Barbara Waters (UK).




Student support services as agents for change

How can student support services and disability officers be important benefactors in the development of universal design for learning as the main approach for including students with disabilities in higher education?

Disability officers share challenges and success criteria they experience in developing a universally designed learning environment.

Presenters to be confirmed.

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Keynote by Katie Novak

Katie Novak is currently the Assistant Superintendent of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District.

With 13 years of experience in teaching and administration and an earned doctorate in curriculum and teaching, Katie designs and presents workshops both nationally and internationally focusing on teacher implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), MTSS, 21st Century Skills, and Common Core implementation.

She is the author of UDL Now! A Teacher's Monday Morning Guide to Implementing the Common Core State Standards Using Universal Design for Learning.

Read more about Katie Novak Watch presentation

Katie Novak’s TEDtalk

Round-up by Dr. Jonathan Reams (NTNU, Norway)

Dr. Jonathan Reams (NTNU, Norway)

Dr. Jonathan Reams will round-up the different perspectives and will link them to a theoretical framework.

Dr. Jonathan Reams is driven by an insatiable curiosity about the essence of human nature and how to cultivate this essence in the service of leadership. He uses various outlets for achieving this. He currently has a position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he teaches and does research on leadership development, coaching and counseling. He serves as Editor-in Chief of Integral Review, A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Praxis and Research. He is also a co-founder of the Center for Transformative Leadership. Jonathan’s Ph.D. is in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University.

Jonathan Reams practices the cultivation of leadership through consulting and leadership development program design and delivery. He brings awareness based technology to this work, focusing on how the inner workings of human nature can develop leadership capacities for today’s complex challenges. He has done this for a diverse range of clients in the US, Canada and Europe.

All day

Demonstration of the Toolkit for Students

Presentation of the Best Practice Guidelines


Conference dinner

Wednesday June 29th

© howest.be 2016


Registration and coffee/tea


Introduction of the LINK-day

How to take UDL further in a European context? By Meggie Verstichele (SIHO, Belgium) and Judith Jansen (Handicap + Studie, the Netherlands).

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Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning in Postsecondary Education: from Framework to Practices - Flemish and Canadian Perspectives.

By: Dries Vanacker (Artevelde University College Gent, Belgium), Valérie Van Hees (Artevelde University College Gent, Belgium), Tanja Beck (McGill University, Canada)

Students in postsecondary education today represent a wide range of diversity in terms of age, ethnicity, native language, life experiences, academic preparation, abilities and disabilities. Universal Design (UD) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are frameworks that can support higher education institutions when they design campuses, educational settings, curriculum programmes, learning objectives, and assessments, ensuring more equal opportunities for a wide range of students. In this keynote, McGill University (Canada) and Artevelde University College Ghent (Belgium) will demonstrate the major value of UDL in the context of postsecondary institutional policy and practices. Both institutions will focus on the position of UDL in their educational policies and their student services. Experiences of institutional staff of faculties with implementing UDL (stressors and facilitators) and initiatives in which UDL-principles are successfully implemented will be discussed.

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Parallel sessions 1

11.30 -12.00



Parallel sessions 2