Humber continues to develop as a community in our understanding of why integrating Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in the curriculum is so important. To support Humber faculty with how to integrate equitable and accessible learning experiences, Innovative Learning recently hosted the UDL Institute, a three day in-person immersive professional learning experience.

UDL has been a longstanding strategic priority for Humber and initiatives such as the UDL Institute build capacity to integrate the principles and processes of the UDL framework at the course design and delivery level.

I encourage all faculty and staff to embrace opportunities to cultivate knowledge about UDL to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment that accommodates the needs of all students.

On another UDL-related note, congratulations to Humber faculty members Philip Burge and Josephine Mazzuca on the recent publication of their article in the Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy based on the results of a pilot program at Humber focused on redesigning courses using a UDL lens.

Thank you to Dawn Macaulay, dean, Innovative Learning, and Ranya Kahn, associate dean, Teaching Excellence, for their SVPA guest blog this week, sharing details about the UDL Institute and upcoming opportunities to continue building Humber’s capacity in this important area.

Signature of Gina Antonacci (Gina)

Adopting Universal Design Principles in Teaching and Learning at Humber

Humber has made a strategic commitment to increasing accessibility for all students by adopting Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in teaching and learning. We have also committed to increasing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) as seen by the work of our EDI Task Force, its sub-committees, and the EDI mindset that is embedded in our Humber Learning Outcomes. We reach more of our students by welcoming them to the learning community, by showing them that we see them, and that they belong.

These commitments call on us to increase the variety of ways we plan to experience and express learning in our classrooms. We honour our students by planning for their diverse needs and interests, and by sharing with them the power to make choices about the best way for them to learn.

To support Humber faculty in reflecting on and creating opportunities to adopt a UDL framework into their teaching practice, Innovative Learning was delighted to facilitate Humber's first ever UDL Institute during reading week (March 1-3). Andratesha Fritzgerald, EdS, an international expert on UDL implementation served as our keynote speaker, workshop leader, and consultant. Her seminal work supports educators in implementing UDL while removing barriers to Access and Equity through an Antiracism approach. This served as the organizing principle across the three days of in-person professional learning.

Participating faculty examined their current practices and curriculum and explored concrete changes to design learning experiences that integrate an Antiracism and Inclusive/Accessible framework. We began with developing our shared understanding of the rationale, principles and goals of the UDL framework. Institute participants openly shared their classroom experiences, approaches to designing and delivering flexible and responsive curriculum, and challenges and concerns related to integrating the UDL framework.

On the second day, Andratesha shared her inspirational and insightful words in the keynote address and provided personalized practical strategies with our workshop participants.

Innovative Learning secondees and facilitators led the final day of the Institute to dive deeply into re-designing a learning experience using the UDL framework. Each day of the Institute encouraged participants to rely on the collective experiences in the room and supported the development of a learning community. We hope this team will stay connected with us and each other in the UDL Community of Practice.

Though the formal event is over, the Institute continues as our facilitators are available to meet to discuss ideas and support faculty as they complete their re-design and earn a formal Humber micro-credential. We want to thank the facilitators, Karyn Olsen, Mackenzie Ketchell, Kate Staig, Aileen Herman, Eleanor Pierre and Amanda Baker, who exemplify what it means to be UDL champions. To the faculty who joined us, we are proud of you for being ready to focus on taking the practical steps of embedding UDL in your courses. The choices you make change lives.

To faculty who weren’t able to join us for the full event this reading week, we plan to bring new versions of the UDL Institute, with different keynote speakers and perspectives, to inspire and guide us in the continuation of this work for the coming year. Watch for announcements about Institutes during non-teaching weeks in the Communique, via your Associate Dean and on the Innovative Learning website.


Dawn Macaulay,

Dean, Innovative Learning

Ranya Kahn,

Associate Dean, Teaching Excellence