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Jenna W. Gravel

Senior Research Scientist
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As a Senior Research Scientist, Jenna W. Gravel works to connect research and practice by supporting educators to apply UDL to the classroom in order to engage all learners in rich, sophisticated learning opportunities.

Specifically, Dr. Gravel’s research explores the intersections of UDL and disciplinary thinking in English Language Arts (ELA) and the ways that these intersections can promote diverse learners’ engagements in discipline-specific practices, commitments, and habits of mind. She studies these themes by drawing from approaches that emphasize partnerships between researchers and practitioners in order to examine interventions through iterative cycles of inquiry. She seeks to explore how these research-practice collaborations can serve as meaningful sources of professional learning for educators.

Prior to assuming her role at CAST, Dr. Gravel worked as a middle school special educator and co-taught inclusive classes with English and Social Studies general educators. She also worked as a research associate and project manager at CAST where she played a role in the development of CAST’s UDL Guidelines. Finally, she worked as a staff assistant at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, assisting in learning opportunities for families and early intervention personnel.

My Inspiration

The more we help children to have their wonderful ideas and to feel good about themselves for having them, the more likely it is that they will someday happen upon wonderful ideas that no one else has happened upon before.

Eleanor Duckworth, The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning, p. 14


EdD, EdM, Harvard Graduate School of Education
BA, Colby College

Selected Publications

Refereed journal articles 

Gravel, J.W. (2018). “Going deep”: Leveraging Universal Design for Learning to engage all learners in rich disciplinary thinking in ELA. Teachers College Record, 120(3), 1-40.

Mislevy, R. J., Haertel, G., Cheng, B. H., Ructtinger, L., DeBarger, A., Murray, E., Rose, D., Gravel, J., Colker, A. M., Rutstein, D., & Vendlinski, T. (2013). A “conditional” sense of fairness in assessment. Educational Research and Evaluation, 19(2-3), 121-140.

Tegmark-Chita, M., Gravel, J.W., Serpa, M. deL. B., Domings, Y., & Rose, D.H. (2012). Using the Universal Design for Learning framework to support culturally diverse learners. Journal of Education 192(1), 17-22.

Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., Ayoub, C.A., & Gravel, J.W. (2009). Examining the “whole child” to generate usable knowledge. Mind, Brain, and Education, 3(4), 209-217.


Gordon, D. T., Gravel, J.W., & Shifter, L. A. (Eds.). (2009). A policy reader in universal design for learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Invited chapters and articles 

Rao, K., Gravel, J.W., Rose, D.H., & Tucker-Smith, N. (2023). Universal Design for Learning in its 3rd decade: A focus on equity, inclusion, and design. In R. J. Tierney, F. Rizvi & K. Erkican (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 4th edition (pp. 712-720). Elsevier.

Gravel, J.W., Edwards, L.A., Buttimer, C. J., & Rose, D.H. (2015). Universal design for learning in postsecondary education: Reflections on principles and their application. In S.E. Burgstahler (Ed.) Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice, 2nd edition (pp. 81-100). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Rose, D.H., & Gravel, J.W. (2013). Using digital media to design student-centered curricula. In R. E. Wolfe, A. Steinberg, & N. Hoffmann (Eds.) Anytime, Anywhere: Student-Centered Learning for Students and Teachers (pp. 77-101). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Lapinski, S., Gravel, J.W. & Rose, D.H. (2012). Tools for practice: The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines. In T. E. Hall, A. Meyer, & D.H. Rose (Eds.), Universal Design for Learning in the classroom: Practical applications (pp. 9-24). New York: Guilford Press.

Rose, D.H., Gravel, J.W. & Domings, Y. (2012). Universal Design for Learning “unplugged”: Applications in low-tech settings. In T. E. Hall, A. Meyer, & D.H. Rose (Eds.), Universal Design for Learning in the classroom: Practical applications (pp. 120-134). New York: Guilford Press.

Rose, D.H., & Gravel, J.W. (2010). Universal design for learning. In P. Peterson, E. Baker, & B. McGraw (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (pp. 119-124). Oxford: Elsevier.

Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J.W. (2009). Getting from here to there: UDL, global positioning systems, and lessons for improving education. In D. T. Gordon, J.W. Gravel, & L.A. Shifter (Eds.), A policy reader in universal design for learning (pp. 5-18). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

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