In higher education, discussions around accessibility often start with federal mandates and accommodations. This framing tends to cultivate a campus culture focused on accommodations, but “. . . accommodation is a reactive approach to provide access to an individual . . . [whereas] Universal Design processes are proactive approaches to ensure access for groups of potential participants.”
At Dartmouth, we realized that this distinction creates an opportunity for changes in both teaching and learning. While some legal requirements for accessibility are not necessarily met through the practice of universal design, we hope to guide our institution toward a culture aimed at designing for the widest possible set of student needs.