DMU Annual Conference 2017 - Universal Design for Inclusion


The experience of disabled students following substantial changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowances system will be the primary focus of this year’s De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Annual Conference 2017.

This important subject matter will build on other significant topics discussed at previous DMU conferences as part of its sector-leading drive to make higher education accessible to all and to encourage further development of inclusive practice.


The event, entitled Universal Design for Inclusion, takes place at the university’s Hugh Aston Building, Vaughan Way, Leicester, on Wednesday 7 June from 9.15am until 4pm.

It will be of interest to anyone in the higher education sector and will consist of a mixture of whole-conference sessions as well as interactive workshops, with plenty of time for networking and sharing ideas.

DMU has been at the forefront of developing inclusive approaches to teaching and learning through its innovative Universal Design for Learning framework. It is the product of decades of research into how people learn and based on more than 800 different research studies.

This approach has received extensive praise from, among others, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Education, the latter of which asked DMU to contribute to its ‘Inclusive teaching and learning in higher education as a route to excellenceguidance document.

The conference will explore subjects such as institution-wide approaches to inclusion, managing student referrals, ensuring students have an input into programme content, how apps can help students, and giving people the opportunity to hear about DMU’s adoption of the principle of Universal Design for Learning into all teaching and learning approaches.

The day will be opened by Jo Cooke, DMU’s Associate Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Student and Academic Services, who will introduce the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard and the keynote speaker Bettina Rigg.

Jo Cooke said: “De Montfort University feels passionately that the student should always be placed at the heart of everything we do and our Universal Design for Learning framework underpins that ethos. At the forefront of the UDL approach is the idea of embedding inclusivity and choice for all of our students and lecturers.

“This year’s annual conference will explore institution-wide approaches to inclusion and give people the opportunity to hear about our adoption of the Universal Design for Learning principle into all our teaching and learning, which has received widespread praise, including from the Department for Education.”

Keynote speaker Bettina Rigg, a partner at the Veale Wasbrough Vizards legal practice in Birmingham, has worked for many years advising universities, colleges and employers on all aspects of employment law including advising higher education institutions on issues relating to students. She has a special interest in equality and diversity issues and regularly provides training to boards of directors, governing bodies and senior management teams.

Among DMU’s initiatives to create an inclusive learning environment include the DMU Replay policy which ensures all lectures are recorded, quiet-themed accommodation with the needs of autistic students and those with mental health conditions in mind, assistive computer software and enhancements to study materials in accessible formats.

Posted on Wednesday 31st May 2017

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