NECC’s Hidy Receives Mention in Book on UDL
Renowned graphic designer and former Northern Essex Community College Professor Lance Hidy, who is now the college’s accessible media specialist, recently received a mention in a new book that discusses Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
The book, “Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education,” was written by Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling and published by the West Virginia University Press. In many years as a UDL consultant to NECC, Behling formed alliances with NECC staff and faculty, and, early on, was instrumental in attracting Hidy’s interest in this branch of design. The book explains that while UDL is often associated with students with disabilities, it actually benefits a much broader population.
For example, while captioned instructions can assist the hard of hearing they may also be beneficial to a student needing to keep the volume low to avoid waking others or for someone studying on a noisy team bus. Hidy and his experience with UDL is given as an illustration of a positive UDL experience in the book.
When Hidy, then a professor of art & design, learned he would have a student in his Photoshop course who required course materials in 16-point type, Hidy put his design skills to work. He redesigned the handout with 16-point type, added 20 new illustrations, and included screen captures. Even though he designed it with one student in mind, Hidy distributed the revised material to everyone in the course. He had a “UDL awakening” when the entire class completed the assignments in two weeks in what once took three weeks.
This set Hidy on a quest that aligned with his expertise, the authors noted. “A graphic artist by trade, he understood the value of multiple modes of expression and quickly became a UDL advocate,” the authors wrote.
Hidy also sits on the NECC accessible media committee, along with colleagues from the Center for Instructional Technology, The Learning Accommodations Center/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, NECC Libraries, Marketing, and Faculty. The mission of the committee is to raise design awareness on campus, to enhance fundamental academic principles of equity and accessibility by striving to provide to the broadest possible audience, regardless of impairment or disability, equal access to the college’s programs, services, events, and activities. The committee works to increase the visibility of UDL efforts, to demystify UDL, and to show the positive effects of engaging in UDL, as universally designed materials enhance understanding and recall for all.