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Friday, June 24 • 09:00 - 09:50
CON10.11 - Universal Design in Graduate Education: The Student-Supervisor Relationship, Disability-Related Accommodations and the Ideal Learning Environment

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From the research of the National Taskforce on the Experience of Graduate Students with Disabilities, there were three interconnected, areas that stood out as being crucial to the experience of students with disabilities in graduate education: the student supervisor relationship, academic accommodations and the essential requirements of the discipline or program. This presentation will explore our findings and the relationship among these areas, in the context of the key principles of a Universally Designed graduate education environment.

The student-supervisor relationship is experienced on a continuum, with most relationships realized between two extremes: good in some ways, fair or poor in others (Lovitts, 2001). The current accommodation framework in graduate education relies on students with disabilities being proactive to ensure their needs are met, which can create challenges for students, supervisors and disability services providers. Accommodations in graduate education are inextricably linked to understanding and articulation of a program’s or discipline’s essential requirements. The nature of the student-supervisor relationship heavily influences the effectiveness of discussions on accommodation and essential requirements (Roberts et al, 2014). Compounding this interconnectedness is the individualized nature of graduate education. Application of Universal Design principles may be useful in ameliorating these challenges (Rose & Meyer, 2002). Consequently, the potential role of Universal Design in graduate education, and its impact on the student-supervisor relationship, essential requirements and disability accommodation, will be explored.

The goal of Universal Design is to neither ignore, nor force, disclosure of differences but instead to foster an overall culture in which students feel comfortable disclosing their differences if they wish to do so, without fear of recrimination or misjudgment. Participants will gain a better understanding of the interconnectedness between the student-supervisor relationship, accommodation and essential requirements, and the potential of Universal Design, and in so doing, enhance student success through “Empowering Learners, Effecting Change.”


Mahadeo Sukhai

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai is Canada’s first blind biomedical researcher, and is the Chair and Principle Investigator of the National Taskforce on the Experience of Graduate Students with Disabilities and its associated research projects. Dr. Sukhai’s research interests and publications... Read More →

Friday June 24, 2016 09:00 - 09:50 EDT
UCC 67

Attendees (7)