Starting Monday, March 14, 2016, the College of Charleston is hosting a four-day symposium called, “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Action: Processes and Perceptions.” Designed in collaboration with the College’s Center for Disability Services, the event will stress the importance of creating diverse learning environments. Based on scientific research about how humans learn, UDL is a framework for improving and optimizing teaching and learning for all people.

The symposium will kick off at 3 p.m. on Monday with the keynote address from Aisha Haynes, the program manager for distributed learning at the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of South Carolina. Haynes will also host a session on UDL key principles on Tuesday at 12 p.m.

The panel presentation on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. features College of Charleston faculty members who have applied UDL principles to their course design and instruction: Associate Provost Conseula Francis, who has been involved in various campus initiatives promoting UDL and who has also served as the director for the College’s African American Studies Program; psychology professor Cindi May, whose research involves improving cognitive function in older adults and in college students; Lancie Affonso, who teaches in the departments of computer science and of management and marketing; and Robin Humphreys, a lecturer and laboratory manager in the geology department.

Peter Alan Smith, executive in residence in the College of Charleston’s School of Business, will give the concluding presentation, “Breaking Down the Perceived Barriers Between the Disabled and ‘Non-Disabled’ in our Academic Community.” Known as the Midnight Golfer, Smith does not let his blindness keep him from living and learning, and he believes that UDL is important to everyone.

“Please come and share and partake of this fascinating and joyful subject,” says Smith, who is a respected golfer, medal-earning cyclist, two-time finisher of the Boston Marathon, writer, traveler and board chair for the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. “I am asking for some students or interested persons to come and help out as well. Tell the world!”

The event is free and open to the public, and participants are invited to attend one or all of the event sessions. All presentations will be held in the Stern Center Ballroom and attendees are encouraged to please RSVP.