Barberi, B. D. (2017). Support services for freshmen with disabilities at postsecondary institutions in northeast Tennessee (Publication No. 10602645) [Doctoral dissertation, Lincoln Memorial University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview1936681303
Lincoln Memorial University (Harrogate, TN); ProQuest document ID: 1936681303
Accommodations were not specified in advance of this inquiry; the perceptions of first-year postsecondary students with disabilities regarding their support services were investigated. Information about accommodations provided for course examinations, when available, was emphasized in the Findings section.
Eight postsecondary students with disabilities, all in their first year, participated. The participants were enrolled in and attending a variety of postsecondary programs in northeastern Tennessee (U.S.), with two each at a public vocational institute certificate program, a public community college, a public university, and a private university. The vocational rehabilitation services provider was accessed by the two participants at the vocational institute, and disability services offices were the primary service providers at the other three postsecondary institutions. Demographic information such as gender and age (18–43) was collected.
Each participant responded to and completed a student survey and participated in an interview with the researcher. The survey consisted of six questions on support services that participants have used, found most helpful, found not helpful, and whether they have felt supported by their instructors; a question addressed something that participants would change for students with disabilities to encourage them to complete postsecondary education. The interview had 10 questions addressing students' experiences with support services, sense of supportiveness from instructors, struggles, and additional support services missing at their postsecondary institutions. Thematic analyses were completed on students' interview data.
Four of the eight participants reported that they have been completing course exams individually through disability services offices; at least some of these four participants also received extended time during exams. Nearly all participants indicated that they have had direct contact with instructors and teaching assistants, and that doing so was their most frequent or consistent source of academic support. Six participants endorsed disability services offices as positive experiences. Broadly, 12 services identified by participants were: admissions, testing (including during admission process and for course exams), tutoring, library, financial aid, registration, advising, TRIO/Student Support Services, TRIO/Educational Opportunity Centers, teacher assistance, Disability Support Services (DSS), and "other not listed." At least some participants, especially one at the vocational institute, reported little or no academic support from any professionals.