The John Kelly Award for UDL in Further & Higher Education
Tuesday, 7th February 2023
What ARE the John Kelly AwardS?
The John Kelly Award for Universal Design in Further and Higher Education recognises the innovative practice of teaching staff in further and higher education engaging with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to deliver a more inclusive learning experience for their students. The award aims to celebrate and promote the use of UDL in further education and higher education settings.
The awards are targeted at practitioners who have demonstrated their emergent commitment to UDL by undertaking the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning and making exciting changes to their practice above and beyond their initial redesign.
After a successful relaunch last year, applications are now open for the Individual award category. To give our institutions and organisations the opportunity to further embed and develop UDL within their contexts, the Collaborative award category will not be running this year but will return in 2024.
The awards are named after the late Professor John Kelly, former Registrar of UCD and founding Chair of AHEAD in recognition of his pioneering work. John sadly passed away last year. We were delighted that he could address the audience in person at the awards final in October 2022.
**Applications open February 6th until April 23rd**
- Individual Award: Anita Byrne - DKIT
- Collaborative Award: Atlantic Technological University
- Individual One to Watch: Emer Thornbury - NCI
- Collaborative One to Watch: Donegal ETB
View the 2022 Poster Submissions
Shortlisted Finalists 2022
Tara O'Halloran Cronin - Kerry College
Elaine Wallace - University of Galway
Cormac Flynn - ATU
Lucia Cloonan - ATU
Treasa Campbell - MIC
Anita Byrne - DKIT
Atlantic Technological University
National Learning Network
University College Cork
University of Limerick
One to watch
Emer Thornbury - NCI
Background on the UDL Badge
As part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning's open access digital badge initiative, AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning teamed up to create the digital badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning.
In short, together we designed instructions and learning materials for a short introductory professional development course on universal design for learning and in partnership with the Forum, made these materials freely available to institutions interested in rolling it out locally by suitable course facilitators.
Every participant who completes the course makes real change to their practice and receives the Forum's Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning in recognition of their work. You can find out more information about the digital badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning here.
The Story of the John Kelly Awards
In 2018, AHEAD celebrated 30 years of shaping a future where students with disabilities can succeed. The origins of the organisation start in University College Dublin in 1988 when then Registrar Prof. John Kelly decided to do something about the challenges facing students with disabilities in his institution. Prof. Kelly led a movement right from the beginning which developed into the founding of AHEAD and he remained central to the organisation as Chair of the Board of AHEAD until 2005. In 2019, AHEAD launched the John Kelly Award for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning in honour of his work in the field. In 2022, the awards have been redeveloped to serve a wider cohort of the UDL community and to allow for further categories to be developed over time. For more about this history of AHEAD, click here to read our story.
How to Apply
These awards celebrate individuals who are engaging in innovative and excellent practice using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and who deliver a more inclusive learning experience for their students. It is targeted at practitioners who have demonstrated their commitment to UDL by completing the Digital Badge in Universal Design for Teaching & Learning, and who are making exciting changes to their practice as a result of this. Applicants must demonstrate how their practice has developed and expanded beyond the scope of what was required of them when completing the Digital Badge. This is not limited to academic/teaching staff.
Applicants are asked to complete the below forms. Applications will be scored based on the rubrics which are available to download. Please complete all sections of the form, including the privacy statement at the end.
Should you wish to submit a video application, this should be clearly structured based on the below questions of between 15-20 minutes. Applications will be reviewed based on the evidence provided and not the production value of the video.
Applications are only open to staff of organisations within the Republic of Ireland.
The purpose of the applications is to:
- Outline the context before the UDL journey was started.
- Demonstrate the steps that have been taken so far towards embedding UDL.
- Share future plans to build on the good practice identified.
- The Individual Award application form is the same for FET and HE.
Completed application forms must be sent via email to JKapplications@ucd.ie
**Applications open February 6th until April 23rd**
How it Works
Once the submission date has passed, initial screening will be conducted by AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning. A panel of international experts will review each application and score based on the rubrics. The three applications per category with the highest score will be shortlisted. Feedback will be provided to all applicants.
To be eligible to win the overall prize, shortlisted applicants must give a short presentation as part of the John Kelly Awards Final Ceremony in October 2023. An expert judging panel in attendance will then meet behind closed doors to discuss the presentations of the shortlist and select an overall winner, which will be announced at the event.
For queries about the application process, please contact JKapplications@ucd.ie,