Pedagogical Approaches to Access and Disability Justice Reading Group

Access & Disability Justice Reading Group

Our pedagogical approaches to access and disability justice reading group will consider how we can unsettle dominant assumptions about disability and barriers to engagement in our classrooms and beyond. As educators, we aim to create the classroom conditions through which students can learn and thrive as whole, embodied humans. However, the ongoing health and climate crises have underscored the importance of authentic reflection and meaningful, sustainable action on accessible teaching through a justice-oriented lens. This means moving beyond simplistic and medicalized frameworks of disability and accommodation and towards understanding our communities as complex and unique in each instance. Now, more than ever, we need to reflect on how we can support and advocate for pedagogies of care and access.

This community is open to educators across campus, including all instructors, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and parafaculty educators engaged in teaching and learning.

Together, we will nurture opportunities for (un/re)learning, relationship-building, critical, creative, and affective self-reflection, and capacity building towards accessibility and disability justice at the University of Alberta.

Theme: Purposeful approaches to access and disability justice in teaching and learning communities

Key Areas of Focus and Engagement: access, disability justice, anticolonial teaching/learning

Facilitator: Mandy Penney (she/her), Lead Educational Developer, Digital Pedagogies and Access at the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Time Commitment: Biweekly, beginning Monday, September 18, 2023 | 9:00 - 10:00 am Mountain Time

Format, Mode, and Platform: Virtually through Zoom. Synchronous online, low-stakes, and collaborative with semi-structured supportive conversations. Pre-readings and reflections will also be provided.

Possible Topics: Some of the areas of focus may include the following:

  • Understanding access needs, access friction, and the role of Universal Design for Learning in teaching/learning
  • Identifying academic ableism in and beyond classrooms
  • Disability justice and cripping the classroom
  • The role of time and space in engagement and access
  • Considering neurodivergent learners
  • Beyond traditional accommodations processes: building flexibility into courses
  • Trauma-informed teaching and learning
  • Intersectionality and access work

Capacity: In order to facilitate authentic and engaged conversations, our reading group will be capped at 12 participants. However, we are open to developing further reading groups in the future where there is an interest.

If you would like to take part in our Winter Term 2024 Pedagogical Approaches to Access and Disability Justice Reading Group, please email