Appendix C: Universal Design in Trinity College Dublin Policy
The term Universal Design, or related terminology, is used in a number of Trinity College Dublin policy statements.
The College mission statement itself states: "The College is committed to excellence in both research and teaching, to the enhancement of the learning experience of each of its students and to an inclusive College community with equality of access for all."
In line with the College's mission statement, in the TCD Strategic Plan of 2006 it was stated that: "Universal design principles in planning the development of our physical facilities will be adopted as far as possible and we will aim to improve physical access to our College buildings". The design of new buildings for TCD must comply with the principles of Universal Design. It is the College's goal to promote the design of products, environments and communications to be as usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialised design.
Section 2.5 of the College's Development Control Plan (DCP) states: "where possible and practical, both internal and external areas of College should incorporate wheelchair access. In the case of new buildings and landscaped areas, this access should be incorporated into the original designs." Whenever possible, arrangements are made to ensure that students with disabilities have full and similar access to the same facilities for study and recreation as the rest of the University community.
There is a Special Needs Committee that provides guidance in these matters and a formal channel for raising issues affecting students with disabilities. From the available information it is not clear to what extent this policy is implemented.
The College has a policy statement on Web Accessibility:
"The College website aims to be accessible to all users including people with disabilities for whom the internet can be a very valuable communication and information tool. Technical tools are constantly being developed and refined which convert text on web pages to the spoken word and thereby make information accessible to people with disabilities, particularly those with visual impairment and reading difficulties. The degree to which web pages are accessible to users with disabilities is defined in terms of priority levels (Web Accessibility Initiative - WAI) and all new websites within the College website are required to be universally accessible at priority levels 1 and 2 except in very exceptional circumstances. Those responsible for existing College websites will be encouraged to make the changes necessary to achieve accessibility at this minimum level. It is strongly recommended that websites should be developed with a view to achieving accessibility at priority level 3."
Website templates are provided by the Web Office in the College the meet the requirement for Web Accessibility Level 2 Priority. See Appendix B - TCD Web Accessibility.
An on-going task of the heads of all student services is to "identify issues of concern to non-traditional students and develop a series of interventions which may include Universal Design, curriculum development initiatives etc. To encourage greater responsiveness by staff and students". The Disability Service and The Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning (CAPSL) are the two student services that are most active in the area of accessibility, most relevant to Universal Design.
The Disability Service aims to provide appropriate advice, support and information to help staff, students and potential students of the College with disabilities.
CAPSL assist the College in developing a framework for supporting best academic practice and the highest quality of student learning.
CASPL run 'The Inclusive Curriculum Project', a 3 year project funded from the Strategic Innovation Fund for a project titled 'Auditing the Curriculum for Diversity'. This project will provide tools to assist in identifying potential barriers to learning within curriculum design whilst linking to appropriate enabling strategies. This project will assist the academic community in developing a more inclusive approach to the design of teaching, learning and assessment strategies that will enable students from non-traditional learning backgrounds to participate more fully in Higher Education. The development of this project is a partnership between the Disability Service, CAPSL, access initiatives in College and the academic community.