Banks, J. (2019). Are we ready: Faculty perceptions of postsecondary students with learning disabilities at a historically Black university . Journal of Diversity in Higher Education , 12 (4), 297–306.

Journal Article
Banks, J. (2019). Are we ready: Faculty perceptions of postsecondary students with learning disabilities at a historically Black university. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(4), 297–306.


Accommodation/s not specified; Learning disabilities; No age; No disability; Postsecondary; U.S. context



Accommodations were not specified; the perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of faculty members regarding postsecondary students with learning disabilities and providing supports including course examination accommodations were investigated.


A total of 149 faculty members—from the entire population of 233 faculty members—at a historically Black university in a mid-Atlantic state (U.S.) responded to and completed educator surveys. Demographic information such as gender and race/ethnicity, and other information such as faculty tenure status, academic rank, and academic discipline were also reported. Of the respondents, 50% identified as female and 49% identified as male. The majority of respondents (73%) were tenure track faculty members. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Professional Studies were represented in the data. The university's student population was described, with 89% Black students; the office of disability services reported serving 108 students with disabilities in the academic year of this study, a number which was expected to be much lower than the number of students with disabilities enrolled.

Dependent Variable

An educator survey (Murray, Wren, & Keys, 2008) containing 56 rating scale items measured 12 factors such as faculty knowledge of federal nondiscrimination policy, perceptions of and attitudes toward students with learning disabilities, available resources, and faculty willingness to provide accommodations during class instruction and course examinations. Items included open-ended questions on faculty experiences. The full participant group mean scores—ranging from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree—were reported for each factor. Factors including Factor 2 on willingness to provide exam accommodations and Factor 12 "Personal Action: Providing Accommodations" were emphasized in this summary. Survey responses were analyzed for mean scores according to participant characteristics such as gender, college/discipline, tenure status, and academic rank.


Participants reported a high degree of willingness to provide exam accommodations (mean: ~4.0), and a high level of agreement with personally providing accommodations (mean: >4.0). Female faculty participants reported significantly higher perceived knowledge of laws relating to disabilities in the university, and significantly more confidence of having personal knowledge sufficient to provide instructional and exam accommodations to students with learning disabilities, than their male colleagues. Faculty participants from the College of Education indicated higher (with statistical significance) perceived knowledge of disability-related laws, and more confidence of knowledge for providing accommodations, than faculty in some other colleges. Faculty participants from the Colleges of Education and of Professional Studies indicated higher expectations of academic performance of postsecondary students with learning disabilities than participants in each of the other colleges. Participant characteristics unmentioned here showed no significantly different survey response patterns. The researcher concluded that the survey response patterns suggested that academic outcomes were dependent upon faculty knowledge of learning disabilities and their willingness to accommodate postsecondary students with learning disabilities.