Baker, T. T. (2021). Support for students with disabilities: How awareness and accommodations differ across faculty members within the postsecondary context (Publication No. 28539983) [Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/28539983
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); ProQuest document ID: 28539983
Postsecondary faculty perspectives were examined on accommodations and supports for students with disabilities in higher education. Although no specific accommodations were studied, faculty members mentioned universal design, and supports such as extra time on course exams, microphones, closed captioning, and other assistive technology devices, such as those for students with hearing impairments including deafness.
Current or former faculty members (n=14) from a private university in California (U.S.) were interviewed virtually to gain an understanding of their views on academic accessibility for students with disabilities. Participants' demographic information and instructional experience were reported; three interviewees self-disclosed about their own disabilities. Academic fields included Spanish, physical therapy, sociology, and psychology.
This study was not quasi-experimental and did not have dependent variables per se. Surveys and a semi-structured interview protocol yielded transcriptions that were coded for themes related to the knowledge of faculty members about accommodations and their benefits for students with disabilities. This qualitative case analysis included triangulation of these data with postsecondary student information on accommodations, as indicated in letters from the Office of Student Accessibility (OSA), as well as university policy documents.
The researcher indicated that faculty members' understanding of accessibility and university processes can lead to the implementation of appropriate accommodations. Additionally, although the faculty was provided Universal Design for Learning (UDL) training and UDL was emphasized by the university, faculty members reported that they still needed information on the use of technological supports for students such as closed captioning, despite the Office of Student Accessibility (OSA) reporting regular offers of support. The researcher noted that, due to the complexity of confidentiality and the right to non-disclosure by students with disabilities, some faculty reported feeling distrust and suspicion towards students with disabilities, indicating a need for increased awareness and understanding of disabilities and laws about accessibility. Limitations of the study were reported, implications and recommendations from faculty members on university actions were offered, and future research possibilities were suggested.