Institute on Disabilities at Temple University


Ensuring Higher Education Opportunities for ALL

NOTE: This program was funded from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2012.

Project Overview

Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for All, a 3-year demonstration project funded by a grant from the US Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education, is focused on increasing the retention rate of students with disabilities at Temple University. Given that students with disabilities have the highest rate of college dropout among all "minority groups," several unique solutions to this problem were sought.

Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for ALL Overview Video

This 10-minute video provides an overview of "Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for ALL," a demonstration project funded by the US Department of Education. You will learn about the major goals of this project and meet some of the Disability Studies and Mosaic Humanities faculty who have come together to bring disability into the undergraduate humanties curriculum at Temple University.

  1. Representing disability history, culture and rights movements as an integrated aspect of ongoing conversations about diversity and cross-cultural contact. This will give students who self-identify as disabled and their non-disabled peers a chance to see disability as a social construct and as a positive creative force rather than in a stigmatized and often medicalized object position. By integrating discussions of disability into existing undergraduate curricula, and drawing the latent disability content out of the course texts which students are already analyzing, a space for disabled students is opened up to share their personal, experiential and embodied knowledge with their peers while maintaining an emphasis on the organic integration of new knowledge for all students.
  2. Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for All advances the message of "disability as diversity" in both the undergraduate curriculum and across the university. This is done by working with the Temple University Human Resources Department to present disability as an active and vital part of Temple's mission of respecting and celebrating diversity, and bringing disability content into Temple's undergraduate core curriculum offering "Mosaic: The Humanities Seminars."
  3. Building capacity among faculty in their use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Growing out of the Universal Design movement in architecture, this practice seeks to eliminate barriers to learning for all students, in the same way that Universal Design in architecture seeks to create spaces, which are accessible to all bodies. There are 3 basic concepts that drive UDL: Multiple means of representation; Multiple means of action and expression; Multiple means of engagement. By representing information in a variety of ways, engaging students through multiple means, and allowing students to demonstrate their new knowledge of a topic though methods of their choice, UDL can help all learners succeed. Since UDL-based techniques are applied to all learners in a classroom, UDL also reduces the potential stigma of "special accommodations" for students with disabilities, and focuses on enhancing existing learning styles rather than promoting remediation.
  4. Replicating what has been effective at Temple University at other colleges and universities. Given that Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for All has been funded as a demonstration project, replication of validated promising practices must be sustained and brought to scale. As such, the major portion of activity in the third and final year of this project is being devoted to validating and replicating these promising approaches at 5 other colleges or universities throughout the United States. Additional information about applying to replicate this program at another college or university can be found in the "Replication" section of this website.

The specific goals of Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for All are:

  1. Goal 1: "Human Resources at Temple University will present disability as part of diversity training when orienting all new faculty and staff." More information about Goal 1.
  2. Goal 2:"Mosaic faculty will include disability as an element of diversity training in their two-semester seminar required of all first year and transfer students." More information about Goal 2.
  3. Goal 3: "Disability Studies faculty and staff at Temple University will infuse 4-6 sections of the required year-long Mosaic course (Humanities course required for every incoming Temple University Freshman) with information (and actual tools) about the importance of accessibility as employed through the principles of universal design for learning." More information about Goal 3.
  4. Goal 4: "Universities throughout the nation participating in the network of 67 UCEDDs will attend a conference on Ensuring Higher Education Opportunity for All held at the end of Year Two with the intent of several universities replicating the demonstration project at their home universities." More information about Goal 4.
  5. Goal 5: "National recognition of the importance of accessibility and universal design for classroom learning and Disability Studies pedagogical insights and methods will improve the higher education quality and retention rates of students with disabilities." More information about Goal 5.


Building Faculty Capacity

Funded by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.

Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service