Universal Design of Student Services Applying Universal Design to Student Services Departments on Campus Our Goal in Student Services Ensure that everyone who needs to use our service can do so comfortably and efficiently. Our staff want to ensure that everyone feels welcome and can get to the facility and maneuver within it; communicate effectively with support staff; access printed materials and electronic resources; fully participate in events and other activities. Universal Design Thinking proactively about the types of students we serve and how they will access our programs and resources is universal design. Universal design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (The Center for Universal Design) Universal Design is a Process Identify the Service Define the Universe Involve Consumers Adopt Guidelines/Standards Apply Guidelines/Standards Plan for Accommodations Train and Support Evaluate Identify the Service Within your area, what specific services do you offer for students? Counseling? Class registration? Application for financial aid? Links to outside resources? Opportunities for campus involvement? Define the Universe What types of students do you serve? What are their characteristics? Consider things like: Gender Age Disability Ethnicity and race Native language Level of general “college knowledge” Involve Consumers How do you gain information about what works and what students need? Consider: Soliciting feedback from a diverse group of students when designing new programs and services Creating opportunities for ongoing feedback and evaluation from students using your services – be prepared to make changes based on feedback! Adopt and Apply Guidelines and Standards Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel! Check out what other student services departments on campus are doing that is working well Gain ideas from other campuses by talking to staff or visiting their programs Integrate the principles of universal design along with the other best practices you find Plan for Accommodations Implementing universal design minimizes the need for accommodations but there will still be times when accommodations are necessary. BE PREPARED! Make sure your staff know how to respond to accommodation requests and do so in a timely matter Keep a resources list handy so staff know who to contact and how to refer students Train and Support Talk with your staff about the value of diversity and the make sure they are equipped to answer questions and provide good customer service to ALL students Providing ongoing training and reinforcement of best practices based on the unique situations in your office Evaluation Think about the design of your evaluation tool as well as the population you receive feedback from Provide multiple, accessible ways for individuals to give feedback about services and service delivery Solicit feedback from a diverse population that represents both service users and staff Think “Big Picture” Planning, policies and evaluation Consider diversity issues in planning and evaluating services and in the procurement process Physical environments and products Ensure physical access, comfort, and safety in an environment that is welcoming Staff Prepare staff to work with all students Think “Big Picture” Information resources and technology Make publications, websites, and technology resources accessible Events Ensure everyone can participate in events and clearly publicize the process for requesting accommodations Don’t Wait! Start Now! Universal Design is a process and is measured on a continuum. Start small – pick one program or service area to research and develop an implementation plan Continue to build on the programs and strategies you find to be most effective.