The Research and Innovation Centre for Inclusive Education (CIEDUCA, for its acronym in Spanish) seeks to meet the demands of inclusive education, observing diversity amongst students, according to the current educational policies.  Research, innovation, consultancy and training services are the means to create a more inclusive form of educational management that aims at generating quality learning outcomes in the many educational contexts the centre covers.

CIEDUCA is headed by Director Sandra Catalán Henríquez, PhD in Education, and seconded by Lead Researcher Erna Díaz Cruz, PhD in Education, with a team of other relevant researchers and affiliate entities –both local and foreign- collaborating with the objectives of the Research and Innovation Centre.

Its areas of action cover inclusive educational management, school coexistence and citizen training, school health programmes, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with an emphasis on language and mathematics.  To achieve its goals, the Centre will work on research and innovation projects, publications, technical consultancies, training courses, participation in lectures and congresses, development of teaching materials to implement the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in educational institutions, designing post graduate programmes and cross-cutting courses, organising seminars and participating in the media.

CIEDUCA is funded by the Viña del Mar Campus of Universidad Santo Tomás, and the Faculty of Education of UST, and is one of the many Research Centres of Santo Tomás University, all coordinated by the Directorate of Research and Applied Innovation, under the Vice Chancellor of Research and Postgraduate Programmes.

The idea of CIEDUCA rises from the vast diversity of students who are now accessing educational institutions.  The Chilean Constitution, under article 1, states the careful attention students deserve, and makes direct reference to equal rights to all those born in Chile.  However, more inclusive practices to make the teaching-learning process inclusive and applicable to the diversity of students in Chilean classrooms, are needed to validate this equal rights statement.   Thus, the centre will organise leading working teams to provide knowledge and practical guidelines to apply new methodologies inside the classroom.  It is in this context that the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) becomes the leading design tool to create and apply the new teaching guidelines.

The innovative character of this research centre, plus the teaching practices socialised by UDL will facilitate the operationalization of the sense of inclusion, beyond the theoretical context, materialising the observation of diversity in the classroom.