Faculty Attitudes towards Persons with Disabilities when Controlling for Attitudes toward Diversity

By Lucy Barnard and William Lan.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Despite diversity being a topic of much discussion in higher education, disability has and continues to be viewed as the neglected diversity or hidden minority (Olkin, 2002) in favor of race, gender, and religious background as more acknowledged kinds of diversity. Scotch (1988) echoes this sentiment of the neglect of disability as diversity remarking that, “…it is ironic that our vision of diversity is so limited that it rarely includes disability” (p.161). The status of persons with disabilities as a minority group however is not disputed (Olkin, 2002) rather the claim of disability as a kind of diversity is the issue of dispute. Regardless of whether disability is uniformally considered a kind of diversity, college students with disabilities have unique and diverse needs as they are uniquely and diversely situated in institutions of higher education as well as in society. Given the unique and diverse nature of this population in higher education, meeting the needs (both academic and psychosocial) of college students with disabilities requires professionals in higher education to be sensitive to the contribution of these students to diversity on campus along with students from more acknowledged diverse backgrounds. This sensitivity is indeed important as “the most common institutional barrier cited by students with disabilities was lack of understanding and cooperation from faculty and administrators…” (Greenbaum, Graham, & Scales, 1995, p.468). The purpose of this study was to examine faculty attitudes towards students with disabilities as a matter of instructor gender and academic discipline while controlling for their attitudes to diversity.

Keywords: Faculty Attitudes, Higher Education

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 572.649KB).

Lucy Barnard

Doctoral Student, Texas Tech University, USA

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership at Texas Tech University.

Dr. William Lan

Full Professor, Texas Tech University, USA

Full professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership at Texas Tech University.

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