Kwantlen Polytechnic University sociology instructor Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh has been nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction award in the Education, Training and Development category.
“I was nominated by several of my community partners. I feel very proud that the work that I'm doing is appreciated in the community,” says Whittington-Walsh.
“My philosophy is to break down the barriers for students with intellectual disabilities and to transform post-secondary teaching using universal design for learning, and this inclusive pedagogy benefits all students.”
Whittington-Walsh is also the director for the Including All Citizens Program (IACP), KPU’s ground-breaking program that sees students with intellectual disabilities take academic courses for credit and on par with their non-disabled peers. The IACP began as a pilot project at KPU in 2016 and is now one of the first fully inclusive, for-credit university certificate programs in North America. The IACP celebrated its first graduating students in 202.
“We are not modifying or adapting any of the curriculum in our courses; its all about transforming the way that we teach,” says Whittington-Walsh.
Along with being the director of the IACP, Whittington-Walsh also serves as president for Inclusion BC and is on the board of directors for Inclusion Canada, and the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS). She is also a member of the President’s Diversity and Equity Committee at KPU, and serves on the university’s Senate.
“We have a long way to go with making a really, truly inclusive and welcoming society for everybody and I'm trying to do it through this post-secondary pathway,” adds Whittington-Walsh.
The nominees were announced on Mar. 4 via a special online livestream. The winners will be announced on May 26.