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Adopting the Principles of Universal Design into International and Global Studies’ Programs and Curriculum
Journal of International & Global Studies
  • Kimberley Brown, Portland State University
  • Rosa David, Universidad del Norte - Colombia
  • Shawn Smallman, Portland State University
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Publication Date
  • Curriculum planning,
  • Pedagogy,
  • Transformative learning

The ideals of universal design have profoundly impacted instruction, policy, and infrastructure in course architecture and design within elementary education and at some universities. Within international and global studies, however, these principles have not deeply affected either pedagogy or scholarship despite the fact that classes in international studies may include more international students and third culture kids than classes in other programs. Instead, in North America (as well as in much of Latin America and Europe), the current pedagogical model calls for students either to develop strategies on their own to succeed in class or to self-identify with documented disabilities if they need particular assistance or accommodation. This approach relies on a banking model for education, which does not focus upon learner agency. This paper argues that by adopting three principles—learner autonomy, the negotiated syllabus, and universal design—international and global studies programs can better meet the needs of diverse learners and reflect the field’s commitment to inclusion and social justice.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyrighted 2017 by Center for International and Global Studies. Reproduced with permission. Originally published in Journal of International & Global Studies and can be found online at:

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Brown, K., David, R. and Smallman, S. (2017). Adopting the Principles of Universal Design into International and Global Studies’ Programs and Curriculum. Journal of International & Global Studies. Vol. 9, Issue 1, p.77-92.