Faculty knowledge and practices regarding students with disabilities in three contrasting institutions of higher education

S. A. Vogel, Y. Leyser, S. Burgstahler, S. R. Sligar, S. G. Zecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this exploratory survey research, faculty from three types of institutions of higher education (IHEs) provided input regarding their knowledge about disabilities, legal mandates, accommodations, and the office of disability services (ODS); their practices; their willingness to provide accommodations; and their interest in topics for professional development pertaining to students with disabilities. The goal was to be able to recommend professional development strategies and activities matched to institution type so as to increase faculty knowledge and thereby retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities. All full-time and part-time faculty (4,995) in a state university (SU), private university (PU), and community college (CC) received a cover letter and self-report questionnaire. The overall response rate was 27.7% (1,384). Faculty in the PU were significantly more knowledgeable about disabilities, relevant legislation, and the ODS than faculty in the other two IHEs. The CC faculty were very much more likely than other faculty to include a statement in their syllabi and to make an announcement in class encouraging students with disabilities to speak to them about their accommodation needs. However, there were no significant differences among the three groups of faculty regarding knowledge or willingness to provide accommodations. Overall, faculty ranked information about the ODS and teaching accommodations as the topics of greatest interest in professional development; the CC faculty expressed the greatest interest in all topics. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-123
JournalJournal of Postsecondary Education and Disability
StatePublished - 2006

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