Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability Volume 25(3), Fall 2012




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Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability

Volume 25(3), Fall 2012

SPECIAL ISSUE

JUST Design




AHEAD (logo)

The Association on Higher Education And Disability

Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability

Volume 25(3)

Table of Contents


From the Guest Editors 209 - 211

Elizabeth G. Harrison

Christopher S. Lanterman


Designing for Success: Developing Engineers Who Consider 212 - 231

Universal Design Principles

Kimberly Edginton Bigelow


Cognitive Diversity and the Design of Classroom Tests for All Learners 232 - 255

Erin Shinn

Nicole S. Ofiesh


PRACTICE BRIEF 256 - 263

“Infusing JUST Design in Campus Recreation”

Katheryne Staeger-Wilson

Douglas H. Sampson


PRACTICE BRIEF 264 - 270

“Project LINC: Supporting Lecturers and Adjunct

Instructors in Foreign Language Classrooms”

Sally S. Scott

Wade Edwards


PRACTICE BRIEF 271 - 279

“Community Collaboration, Use of Universal Design in the Classroom”

Rachel E. Smith

Tara Buchannan


BOOK REVIEW 280 - 283

Teresa L. W. Haven

Suki Kwon


BOOK REVIEW 284 - 286

Graham Pullin


Review Board & Author Guidelines 287 - 292

FROM THE Guest EDITORS



Elizabeth G. Harrison

University of Dayton

Christopher S. Lanterman

Northern Arizona University


In their 2010 JPED article “The Social Justice Perspective,” Gladys Loewen and Bill Pollard point to respect, dignity, economic and social equality, inclusive environments, and equitable opportunity for full participation as hallmarks of social justice for disabled persons. Their perspective describes the foundations of JUST (Just, Usable, Sustainable, and Transformational) Design that foreground this special issue.


Design is a far-reaching construct that touches every aspect of a postsecondary institution--and of life. It is a series of intentional choices that brings function together with aesthetics and usability together with effectiveness. In this sense design has the power to enable or constrain equitable participation in our institutions for students, staff, and faculty with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and abilities. And it has the power to transform people’s thinking, to help them see and experience their world in new and more just ways.


But design is commonly seen as the province of professionally trained “designers” who create marketable goods such as handbags and dresses, computer games, posters, and cars. Similarly, in our postsecondary institutions course design is seen as the prerogative of faculty, the experts in their academic fields, and facilities design is under the purview of professional facilities management staff including architects and planners. Disability service (DS) providers have been left to react to the often uninformed (in terms of disability) design choices made by these designers, to find or create accommodations so that all members of the institution’s community can participate equitably.


Our aim in this special issue of JPED is to demonstrate that DS providers can enter into institutional design processes as partners whose expertise in disability-related thinking can help ensure that the results are not simply functional and pleasing but JUST—just, usable, sustainable, and transformational. From issues in engineering design curriculum and foreign language teaching pedagogy to the design of assessments and a campus recreation center, the articles, practice briefs, and book reviews collected here describe a variety of ways that DS providers are moving out of the DS office and into active, collaborative relationships with faculty and staff across campus. We hope that this special issue will encourage readers to reexamine what they have to offer their campus community as experts in disability and accessibility and to look for opportunities to collaborate in design processes. By helping to make institutional design decisions more human-centered and inclusive, DS providers can lead their institutions toward the kind of transformational and systemic change that will ensure a just college experience for everyone.

This issue begins with Kim Bigelow’s study on infusing universal design into the design process in an introductory engineering design course. "Designing for Success: Developing Engineers Who Consider Universal Design Principles” highlights the importance of developing engineers and designers who consider and apply principles of universal and inclusive design in design decisions and demonstrates how a disability resource center can partner in the process of developing and implementing this kind of course.


Heather Shinn and Nicole Ofiesh explore JUST Design in assessment practices in “Cognitive Diversity and the Design of Classroom Tests for All Learners.” This article explores the research base for understanding differences in the ways students with and without disabilities approach classroom tests. Their literature review is followed by suggestions for transforming assessment practices to create JUST assessments that more effectively measure student learning.


Three practice briefs follow these two articles. “Infusing JUST Design in Campus Recreation” by Katheryne Staeger Wilson and Doug Sampson outlines the collaborative process used by Missouri State University in the design of its new Campus Recreation Center. The collaboration emphasized user participation in design decisions and a partnering with the university architect to apply elements of universal design in the design of the facility.


Our second practice brief suggests a JUST alternative to traditional accommodations, modified instruction, and waivers offered to students with various disabilities as part of foreign language instruction. Sally Scott and Wade Edwards (“Project LINC: Supporting Lecturers and Adjunct Instructors in Foreign Language Classrooms”) describe an innovative faculty development program for temporary and adjunct faculty that embeds awareness of diverse learners and principles of inclusive pedagogy. Project results reflected an increase in the average grades of students with disabilities across all sections, a reduction in the number of students with disabilities who withdrew during the semester, and a dramatic decrease in the number of foreign language waivers requested.


Rachel Smith and Tara Buchannan authored the third practice brief in this issue, “Community Collaboration: Use of Universal Design in the Classroom.” This brief documents a partnership between faculty and disability resource center professionals in developing sustainable, equitable, and just course designs. The authors found that flexibility and usability within the course design garnered positive student outcomes, including better grades on assignments in which choice was offered.


For the book reviews we have chosen two books that explore the convergence of disability and design. Graham Pullin’s 2009 award-winning Design Meets Disability is reviewed in a conversation between Teresa Haven, an “old hand” in the DS field, and Suki Kwon, a faculty designer and artist. Haven and Kwon reflect on the book’s theme of bringing assistive technologies into mainstream design to create usable, aesthetic, and functional products that meet the needs of a diversity of users. Both the book and the conversation-review present more examples of how this can be accomplished.


To complete our special issue, Graham Pullin reviews the 2011 second edition of the Universal Design Handbook, edited by Wolfgang Preiser and Korydon Smith. This handbook is a resource that might be used across an institution, from the disability resources office to design programs, campus planning, and e-learning units. Pullin’s frank review of the Universal Design Handbook gives valuable context to this sweeping collection of contributions that discuss universal design in the built environment as well as policy, information, media, and instructional environments.


This special issue has been a collaboration between the editors and the Access to Design Professions (ADP) program of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The ADP program seeks to inform and transform practice toward the goal of facilitating more human-centered practices and design strategies in higher education in order (1) to expose the importance of inclusive design in all facets of postsecondary institutions, and (2) to encourage disabled persons to consider careers in design professions from which they can promote practices that create equitable opportunities for disabled persons at postsecondary institutions, within design programs, and in society at large. We thank IHCD and ADP for their support in this project.


We would also like to express our appreciation to the authors who submitted manuscripts to be considered for this issue. Their submissions demonstrated to us that there are many people in the postsecondary DS world who are already engaging in collaborative design processes with other professionals at their institutions. By sharing their work in this special issue of JPED, we hope to provide examples, models, and resources that will help others take on the role of “designer” and bring meaningful, JUST change to their institutions.
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