Disability in Postsecondary STEM Learning Environments: What Faculty Focus Groups Reveal About Definitions and Obstacles to Effective Support
Journal or Book Title
Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability
Students with disabilities lag behind their peers without disabilities in success outcomes related to access to, persistence within, and completion of postsecondary degree programs (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2017). Faculty play a key role in shaping student success. To date, however, most of the work exploring faculty attitudes and behaviors has drawn from a broad sample (e.g., Buchanan, Charles, Rigler, & Hart, 2010; Kraska, 2003; Jensen, McCray, Krampe, & Cooper, 2004; Rao & Gartin, 2003), with only limited exploration of the attitudes and behaviors of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] faculty (e.g., Milligan, 2010; Moon, Utschig, Todd, & Bozzorg, 2011). This study seeks to understand how STEM faculty think about and respond to students with disabilities in order to shape effective interventions. Data were collected through a series of four focus groups with 27 participants across 17 STEM majors including lecturers, pre- and post-tenure, and academic administrators. Key findings from the focus groups illuminated the impact of a formal accommodations process, individual approaches to providing support, and perceptions of the STEM climate towards students with disabilities. Recommendations for research and practice include strengthening support and training for faculty in STEM disciplines while continuing to explore these themes across institutional types.
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Bettencourt, Genia; Kimball, Ezekiel; and Wells, Ryan S., "Disability in Postsecondary STEM Learning Environments: What Faculty Focus Groups Reveal About Definitions and Obstacles to Effective Support" (2018). Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. 19.
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