Partnering with Students with Disabilities

Fridays, October 14 to November 4, 9:00-10:00, on Zoom

In 2017, the faculty seminar “Disability, Accommodation, and Universal Design” (reading list available on this page) was the site of important conversations about accessible teaching in the Writing Program. In the wake of a global pandemic that has brought issues of illness, trauma, and accommodation in higher ed to the forefront, we feel an urgency to continue those conversations this fall in a seminar titled “Partnering with Students with Disabilities.” We’ll begin where the last seminar ended, with an overview of BU’s disability and access resources and Universal Design for Learning, but our intention for this seminar is to go further. In light of new scholarship in disability studies and inclusive pedagogy, we’ll explore the potential for improving our teaching practices; we will also address the limitations inherent in higher ed’s typical approach to accessible pedagogy. The stresses of the ongoing pandemic have revealed breaking points in the system, both in terms of the pervasive ableism encountered by students and in terms of the seemingly unending labor and sacrifice demanded of instructors—many of whom are disabled and/or traumatized themselves. How can we best work with our students to meet their diverse learning needs? How can we determine the limits of accommodation individual instructors can reasonably offer, taking into account our curricular requirements, institutional context, and the boundaries we should be setting around our own labor?