Kusek, T. A. (2017). A qualitative examination of community college instructors’ strategies for engaging students with physical disabilities (Publication No. 10599659) [Doctoral dissertation, Capella University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1936306467
Capella University (Minneapolis, MN); ProQuest document ID: 1936306467
Community college faculty members' perspectives on strategies, techniques, and processes used while addressing the academic needs of students with physical disabilities were investigated. Accommodations were not specified at the outset of the inquiry, but rather emerged in the data and were therefore reported in the Findings section.
Ten faculty members from community colleges in Arizona (U.S.) participated in interviews. All participants were teaching or had taught students with physical disabilities. Participants were purposively sampled, and had a variety of backgrounds and academic disciplines.
Qualitative data were collected from the dissertation researcher's interviews and in-class observations of participating faculty members. The nine interview questions addressed strategies, techniques, and processes that have been successful and not successful in addressing the academic needs of postsecondary students with physical disabilities. Questions were asked on obstacles encountered, and ways of addressing obstacles, and how community colleges supported faculty members' work with students with physical disabilities, including accommodations that they have implemented. In-class observations were conducted and field notes were taken to capture additional information on techniques used by faculty members. Thematic analyses were completed; academic accommodations including for course exams were emphasized in the Finding section.
In addition to architectural access needs and classroom seating considerations such as sufficient wheelchair space and adaptive furniture, participants identified academic accommodations in common use by students with physical disabilities. They noted that communication considerations have required special attention, and use of screen readers, font enlargement, and ergonomic keyboards have been incorporated into their practices. Universal design practices were applied to ensure accessible course materials. Course exams were most commonly accommodated with enlarged print and extended time.