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FREDERIC FOVET, DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (OSD), MCGILL Being ‘UD’ before you preach ‘UD’

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Presentation on theme: "FREDERIC FOVET, DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (OSD), MCGILL Being ‘UD’ before you preach ‘UD’"— Presentation transcript:

1 FREDERIC FOVET, DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (OSD), MCGILL Being ‘UD’ before you preach ‘UD’

2 Introduction Universal Design is gaining in popularity on North American campuses Seen as the most comprehensive, sustainable and socially equitable model to manage Disabilities issues One of the pressing objectives of DS providers is to now advocate for change and to promote UD on campuses

3 Introduction (contd) Are DS units taking the time to examine their own practices before lobbying senior administration, faculty and students? This presentation describes one institution’s progress through this paradoxical journey (qualitative data collected through a one year pilot study following a campus wide UD implementation initiative)

4 Context Rapid increase in the volume of users has led to rapid changes in practices Resource management imperatives have led to a sustainable look at the work of DS providers, and have weighed more heavily than notions of social equity and social inclusion. This has accelerates administrative buy-in for UD.

5 Context (contd.) DS providers have witnessed a shift in paradigm within which their traditionally ‘minority voice’ has been adopted and integrated by a neo-liberal perspective and agenda on diversity and retention. The contextual shift has been so sudden that many units have developed elaborate PR campus wide campaigns and UD implementation initiatives but not taken the time to re-examine their own practices.

6 Context – Demographics and current trends at McGill OSD

7 Objectives of the presentation Highlight this contradiction in processes Evaluate its impact Examine the causes of this phenomenon Seek pragmatic solutions that are transferable from institution to institution

8 Contradiction in processes DS units appear open to the implementation of UD but are simultaneously resistant Historically DS units have increased barriers rather than decreased them The onerous administrative burden is firmly established and anchored in the medical model of Disability (even when the social model of Disability is advocated) When asked to review their procedures, most UD providers push back and insist on the status quo (CADSPPE conference 2012)

9 Implementation of the UD model Five distinct stages - Seeding of information - Structured increase of awareness (workshops and awareness initiatives) - On-the-ground procedural changes - Resistance - UD audits and sustainable implementation NB: resistance is both internal and external to the DS units and the audit phases usually coincide, internally and externally

10 Five stages of UD implementation What stage has your institution reached? Take a few minutes to discuss this with your colleagues. - Seeding of information - Structured increase of awareness (workshops) - On-the-ground procedural changes - Resistance - UD audits and sustainable implementation

11 - NOT OVERT - COMPLEX AND SUBTLE - DISCUSSED LITTLE IN LITERATURE - POWERFUL PHENOMENON - RESISTANT TO MOTIVATIONAL LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES Internal Resistance

12 Team exercise Take a few minutes to discuss this question with your colleagues What are according to you the strongest areas of resistance encountered when attempting UD audits within DS providers?

13 Particular examples of resistance Qualitative data collected through a one year pilot on UD implementation Possible areas of resistance can include: - Advocating for a status quo on documentation requirements - Insisting on high volume of form filling - Insisting on face-to-face advising - IT abandonment or even initial resistance - Insisting on interventions even when UD mechanism yield tangible results for a student

14 Possible Impact Serious issues that go to the root of UD promotion: credibility with other campus partners and stakeholders Confusion: the benefit of implementing the UD model is to share a common language and framework UD promotion requires a redeployment of staff resources. Adherence to previous roles and procedures can threaten viability of service provision. Confusion for users: mixed messages/ credibility with user base HR management of staff burnout and attrition rates if phenomenon is not addressed

15 Causes Resistance from DS providers is already well documented (Embry, Parker, McGuire & Scott, 2003). Observations include: Feeling of powerlessness vis-à-vis faculty Ambivalence with regards to change process Desire to remain focused on frontline service Lack of familiarity with the social model of Disability and with UD

16 Causes (contd.) Self-perceptions of competence and appeal of ‘specialist’ status Phenomenon of counter-transference re student expectations Issues of IT competence and creativity Justification of existing tasks and job description Inaccurate perceptions of the needs of emerging clienteles

17 Transferable solutions Solutions include: Internal training and workshops Strategic planning, linking procedural changes to larger theoretical framework Developing appeal of the redeployment of resources

18 Transferable solutions (contd.) Building awareness of social model of Disability within the unit Relating notions of access and UD to unit practices and office procedures IT Training and development of bridging competencies Development of consistent and concise internal UD audit tools

19 Desired outcomes Hybrid service provision Progressive erosion of documentation requirements and gatekeeping roles Active audit of procedures and requirements Streamlining of procedures Consistent holistic message to the user Openness to change and integration of change management Seamless integration of technology (not solely adaptive technology but mainstream tools) Investigative approach to user needs

20 Contact details Frederic Fovet Director, Office for Students with Disabilities McGill University


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