AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


AISHE Journal - Special Issue with AHEAD on UD in Tertiary Education

The ‘All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’ (AISHE-J) and ‘AHEAD’ are delighted to announce a call for contributions to a Special Issue on ‘Universal Design in Tertiary Education’ to be published in June 2024.

We invite submissions from staff and students on their experiences engaging with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), other inclusive pedagogical approaches, or any broader aspect of Universal Design (UD) in tertiary education. We encourage joint student-staff submissions and student papers.

This Special Issue will provide an opportunity to share experiences, perspectives and foster dialogue on Universal Design (UD) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Irish tertiary education.

There is widespread acceptance of the need to make education more inclusive for all learners, reflected in the wide range of initiatives across the sector. This has been driven by a range of factors, including the advancement of national and international human rights instruments, and the significantly increasing diversity of the student population. UD, a process that aims to make products, environments, programmes or services more accessible to everyone through proactive inclusive design, makes an important contribution to these efforts. This is recognised at a national level by the inclusion of specific goals concerning the implementation of UD in the Further Education and Training Strategy and the National Access Plan for Higher Education.

The internationally recognised UDL framework contributes significantly to the UD approach in the teaching and learning context, providing evidence-based guidance to build more flexibility, accessibility, student voice and choice into our programme design and delivery. Other inclusive pedagogical approaches also contribute to the advancement of UD in teaching and learning. But in the broader tertiary education context, UD principles can also be applied to the design of physical spaces, supports and services, and the digital environment.

We welcome literature reviews, empirical papers and theoretical papers in addition to case studies, reflections on practice and opinion pieces on these topics.  

We are seeking:

  1. Reflections – short articles (no more than 2,000 words) that reflect on or critically consider current practices or questions in UD/UDL, including short case studies.
  2. Full papers (no more than 5,000 words) that reflect on and critically consider key issues and/or report on research and/or evaluations. We are particularly interested in papers that explore policies and practices that proactively reduce the need for students to access specialist supports by building more accessibility, flexibility and choice into the mainstream educational offering.

We welcome contributions that address UD/UDL in further and higher education in any aspects of the following:

  • Learning and teaching
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Curriculum design/development
  • Offering inclusive choices in how students engage through implementing hybrid/Hy-Flex approaches
  • Applications in student service design
  • The physical environment
  • The digital environment
  • Organisational policy and systemic UD implementation initiatives
  • Perspectives on national policy
  • Challenges and enablers
  • Impact of implementation
  • Discipline-specific issues
  • Future-focus and emerging trends
  • Student partnership and UDL/UD
  • The experiences of educators and students

Authors have a choice of two submission dates (see below).

  • Early submissions: 30th October 2023 – Decision February 2024.
  • Later submission: 31st January 2024 – Decision April 2024.

Expected Publication: 30th June 2024

Submission guidance and a submission preparation checklist are available on the AISHE website. All submissions are to be made directly through the AISHE website following their guidelines, and questions about this call should be directed to AISHE.

We are particularly keen to hear from students!

View AISHE Submission Guidance


Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

East Hall, UCD, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
T +353 1 592 1467 E ahead@ahead.ie W www.ahead.ie RCN 20025182