Disability in Higher Education
Despite their best intentions, college personnel frequently approach disability from the singular perspective of access to the exclusion of other important issues, This book provides strategies for addressing ableism in the assumptions, policies and practices, organizational structures, attitudes, and physical structures of higher education, Nancy J, Evans, is a professor in the School of Education and former coordinator of the master's program in student affairs at Iowa State University, She is the coauthor of Student Development in College, Second Edition ??and?? Foundations of Student Affairs Practice, both from Jossey-Bass, Ellen M, Broido, is an associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Kirsten R, Brown, is a student affairs professional at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a part-time faculty member at Madison College, Autumn K, Wilke, is assistant dean of disability resources at Grinnell College, in Iowa,
Disability in Higher Education
A social justice approach to disability in higher education means beginning with the assumption that people's abilities and rights to contribute to and benefit from higher education are not dependent on their bodies or psyches conforming to dominant norms. It means that we believe the barriers to success in higher education lie in the structural, organizational, physical, and attitudinal aspects of our institutions. In this book, we deliberately approach disability from a social justice perspective, recognizing the multifaceted nature of disabled people's lives, while attending to the contributions and potentials of students, staff, and faculty with disabilities. We also pay attention to the attitudinal, organizational, and physical barriers impeding success; to history, law, and policy; to functional limitations and the challenges posed by people's minds and bodies; and to advocacy, struggle, and social change. In particular, we recognize that the experience of disability is mediated by other social identities people hold and the many roles they take on, both within and outside higher education. In addition, in this book we examine the role of people who are not disabled in creating and maintaining social systems, policies, and norms that circumscribe the lives of individuals with disabilities, as well as the ways that those with and without disabilities can reduce or eliminate those barriers.
Our approach differs from most other writing on disability in the context of higher education, in which disability commonly is understood as deficit, limitation, or inability. Even those who work to create an inclusive, socially just society frequently use metaphors that reinforce perceptions of the incapacity of people with disabilities (e.g., using "color-blind racism" to describe people who say they are unaware of racial differences; Nocella, 2009). As Mingus (2011) noted,
People usually think of disability as an individual flaw or problem, rather than as something partly created by the world we live in. It is rare that people think about disability as a political experience or as encompassing a community full of rich histories, cultures, and legacies (para. 1).
In this book, we strive to do just that. In addition, this book differs from other texts on disability by recognizing and exploring diversity within disabled communities. Moreover, we take an intentionally interdisciplinary approach, drawing on both the research and experiential literature from a variety of disciplines, while noting the paucity and dated nature of disability research that foregrounds the experiences of people with disabilities in higher education (E. V. Peña, 2014). Finally, we approach disability as a campuswide issue rather than the sole province of disability resource providers.
We need a better approach to understanding disability in higher education for multiple reasons. First, the numbers and percentages of people with disabilities entering college are rising, with 2011 data indicating 11.1% of college students having a disability (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016b), almost double the numbers from the mid-1990s (although there is considerable variability in disability statistics, as discussed in Chapter 4 ). Second, despite the increasing enrollment of disabled students into higher education, people with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in the workforce, including at colleges and universities, as we expand on in Chapter 7 . These two dynamics are compounded because few staff or faculty members know how to work effectively with people with disabilities as students, colleagues, or supervisees. Finally, few colleges or universities have systematically identified and eliminated institutional and cultural barriers to the success of their constituencies with disabilities. In this book, we provide the information necessary to begin to create campus environments su