As part of a concerted effort to raise awareness of disability in the Geosciences, faculty development programming geared towards promoting enhanced accessibility has been developed for educators in the geosciences through the International Advisory for Geoscience Diversity (visit www.theIAGD.com
for more information). The presentation of these courses includes student instructors who discuss first-hand perspectives of negotiating the rigor of a geoscience curriculum while managing their disabilities. This programming is designed to instruct current geoscience faculty and graduate teaching assistants to apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Inclusive Design for Learning (IDL) to their own lessons, labs, and field trips in order to accommodate students with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. It is important to note that UDL and IDL are not just important for students with disabilities, but are beneficial for all students, regardless of physical or cognitive ability.
In the past year one field trip and two workshops have been organized at three major Geoscience conferences. Thus far there has been a lack of commitment to the offerings. Many educators believe that workshops like these are an excellent idea, and many sign up for the workshops, however in some sessions people do not follow through by attending the course. It appears that educators may not recognize the utility of developing skills in UDL and IDL until a student requiring accommodation arrives in their classrooms.
In this talk we outline preparations made to develop these programs, the philosophies behind how they are run, how they have been marketed, and some of the lessons learned from developing a curriculum around accessibility in geoscience classrooms.