University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Designing for Learning

The Designing for Learning Program began as an intensive program for new UVM faculty. Supported by a donation from the Small Family Foundation, and implemented by the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Writing in the Disciplines Program, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the program offered faculty in their first semester at UVM to learn about Universal Design for Learning and apply its principles to one of their Spring courses. In Fall 2015, the program was opened to all faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences with a focus on helping faculty resolve a specific teaching challenge in one of their courses using UDL principles and course design best practices.

Link to video of Faculty interviews about Designing for Learning
Watch video: faculty experiences in the program

The Designing for Learning Program goals are:

  • Improve faculty familiarity with and understanding of Universal Design for Learning
  • Promote faculty adoption of best practices for course design
  • Provide support for faculty redesign of a course or course component inspired by Universal Design for Learning
  • Initiate a culture shift among College of Arts and Science faculty through ongoing collegial conversations about teaching and student learning that are empathetic and action-oriented.

Each cohort of faculty participates in five two hour workshop sessions where they learn about Designing for Learning and Universal Design for Learning. The program facilitators, J. Dickinson (CTL), Susanmarie Harrington (WID), and Holly Parker (CTL), all work to help guide the cohort members to create courses that are more inclusive of all learners with clear course learning objectives.

During the semester following their participation in the program, each faculty member has a teaching observation and consultation to discuss individual progress and implementation of their work in the program. In the video below, faculty who participated in the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 Designing for Learning Faculty cohorts reflect on how the program contributed to their own teaching.

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