Universal Design

"Adopt practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity and inclusiveness." ~Sheryl E. Burgstahler

What is Universal Design?

Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.  This concept originated in architecture and has great potential to positively impact disability-related access.  UD means that, rather than designing your curriculum, facility, and services for the average user, they are designed for  people with a broad range of abilities, disabilities, reading levels, learning styles, native languages, cultures, and other characteristics in mind. UD, aides in the inclusion of all community members and the success of all learners and employees.  The removal of access barriers and the promotion of equity on campus will gradually allow for more people to have access to a Portland State education and reap all of its benefits. UD for learning is further defined on the Universal Design for Learning webpage.

PSU’s Universal Design Statement

Portland State University is committed to an inclusive and welcoming experience for all students, staff, faculty and guests.  We believe that as we design University spaces and experiences, from classrooms, coursework, exams, events or programs, we have a responsibility to identify and remove barriers to access.  If we incorporate proactive accessibility and universal design into our initial plans, it may reduce or eliminate the need for individual accommodations and increase inclusion and participation of all users. To this end, we strive to incorporate universal design in the physical layout of PSU buildings and accessibility of the university as a whole.

For more information, please review the Center for Universal Design's Seven Principles of Universal Design*.

*Compiled by Universal Design advocates Bettye Rose Connell, Mike Jones, Ron Mace, Jim Mueller, Abir Mullick, Elaine Ostroff, Jon Sanford, Ed Steinfeld, Molly Story, and Gregg Vanderheiden. Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the U.S. Department of Education.