Universal Design for Learning: Examples for deep learning

Posted: Apr 26 2023 by

Patricia Marsteller
Emory University
Patricia Marsteller, Emory University

Change Topics (Working Groups): Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, College/University Staff, Non-tenure Track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Curriculum Development, Accessibility, Diversity/Inclusion, Pedagogical Training

Bryan Dewsbury introduced the concept of 'deep teaching' (Dewsbury, 2019). In essence, the model focuses on a sequential approach, beginning with reflection and self-awareness for the instructor and the development of knowledge and empathy for the students.  The model progresses to considerations of the classroom climate and the other support networks that can part of developing deep learning for students. The deep teaching model can be developed incrementally and is posited as a recurring model applied to each class since each class has different students with different backgrounds, hopes and cultures. Combined with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL, CAST and UDL blog post), Deep Teaching has the potential to reach all students and help them become deep learners. In this post, we will share examples of strategies for multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression that, applied in conjunction with instructor self-reflection, can lead to inclusive and equitable STEM classrooms in higher education. More

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by Design: Getting Started with Universal Design for Learning

Posted: Mar 27 2023 by

Patricia Marsteller
Emory University
Patricia Marsteller, Emory University

Change Topics (Working Groups): Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: First-year College Students, Undergraduate Majors, Non-tenure Track Faculty, Undergraduate Non-Majors, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Professional Development:Accessibility, Diversity/Inclusion, Supporting Students:Student Engagement, Professional Development:Curriculum Development, Pedagogical Training

"Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them.For example, those with sensory disabilities...; learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia); language or cultural differences, and so forth may all require different ways of approaching content. Others may simply grasp information quicker or more efficiently through visual or auditory means rather than printed text. Also learning, and transfer of learning, occurs when multiple representations are used, because they allow students to make connections within, as well as between, concepts. In short, there is not one means of representation that will be optimal for all learners; providing options for representation is essential." 

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from 

Readers of this blog series are already committed to inclusive teaching practices.  However, not all have explored the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to their own courses. Many people think that UDL applies only to people with sight or hearing impairments, but this is not accurate. More

Creating new knowledge about change by combining research-based knowledge with the wisdom of practice

Posted: Feb 28 2023 by

Charles Henderson
Western Michigan University
Kadian Callahan
Kennesaw State University

Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University

Kadian Callahan, Kennesaw State University

Change Topics (Working Groups): Guiding Theories
Target Audience: Post-doctoral Fellows, College/University Staff, Graduate Students, Institution Administration, Non-tenure Track Faculty, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty

One of the core ideas behind the formation of the Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN) is to create and amplify knowledge by fostering interactions between two basic types of people who are working to improve postsecondary education: change researchers and change agents. While there is some overlap in these groups, they mostly operate independently. And, more importantly, each has access to different ideas and types of knowledge.
Through knowledge creation and amplification, ASCN builds capacity within and across these two groups to more successfully enact change in undergraduate STEM education. Specifically, ASCN uses the model of a "Knowledge Creating Company." This way to think about business organizations was first published by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) who credited it for the success of Japanese companies in the 1980s and 1990s. It has since become highly influential in focusing businesses worldwide on the importance of knowledge and knowledge creation. In contrast to the Western approach to knowledge management, which views knowledge as explicit, Japanese companies place significant value on tacit knowledge. More

From Deficit to Asset Framing: How Shifting Faculty Mindset Framing Can Positively Affect Student Motivation and Belonging

Posted: Feb 23 2023 by

Casey Wright
Western Michigan University
Melissa Haswell
Delta College

Melissa Haswell, Delta College

Casey Wright, Western Michigan University

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders, Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Professional Development:Advising and Mentoring, Diversity/Inclusion, Supporting Students:Student Engagement, Academic Support

Student's cultural wealth and faculty mindset framing are often overlooked aspects of educational practice that if addressed, could lead to meaningful change and academic success of students. To shift toward an assets-based view of students and cultivate student belonging we encourage asset framing of students through the cultural wealth, or the knowledge, skills, and contacts, they bring to STEMM classrooms.

It is often posited that academic success is predicated on the "grittiness" of students. Grit can be defined as "expressing a passion and perseverance for pursuing long-term goals" which provides students with the ability to achieve long-term goals even in the face of adversity (Allen, Kannangara & Carson, 2021, p. 75). Grit is often associated with mindset or the perception that students have about their ability to learn. Mindsets, or implicit theories, related to learning generally emphasize the "fixedness or malleability of human characteristics like intelligence or personality (Canning, et. al, 2019)." The majority of research on grit and mindsets related to learning and academic success have focused on students. Thus, leaving the "blame" for lower levels of academic persistence and success squarely on the perceived characteristics of students. However, several recent studies have examined the influence of faculty mindset on student success. This new research indicates that faculty behavior and classroom culture which stems from faculty mindset affects persistence and leads to larger racial achievement gaps in STEM courses and programs (Canning, et. al, 2019). More

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Including Diverse Scientists for an Inclusive Class

Posted: Feb 14 2023 by

Patricia Marsteller
Emory University
Patricia Marsteller, Emory University

Change Topics (Working Groups): Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Post-doctoral Fellows, College/University Staff, Graduate Students, Non-tenure Track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Accessibility, Supporting Students:Student Engagement, Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Curriculum Development, Pedagogical Training

Dear friends, did you ever do the draw a scientist exercise? Indulge me for a moment. Close your eyes. Visualize a scientist doing science. Draw or describe what you see.

Although this exercise was developed and studied mostly for elementary and middle school students, when I ask college faculty or students, many of the results are similar. Many see only men with beakers, chemicals, and often wild hair! Faculty with their eyes closed often grimace because they don't like what they first envision.

Another quick test is to ask your students to name as many scientists as they can...on the first day of class. Look at your textbooks and your class slides. Who is depicted? Whose work is mentioned? More