September 18, 2016

Diversity in Academe: Disability on Campus

This special report examines the challenges that students, academics, and colleges face in dealing with disability on campus. It includes the voices of people who struggle with physical disabilities that make it difficult to navigate older buildings and lovely grounds, and of others who have less-visible conditions such as bipolar or autism-spectrum disorders. Some scholars, having learned how to manage their own conditions, have built successful academic careers despite having blanked out in the middle of a speech or being forced to suddenly cancel class or take a medical leave. Our coverage also reflects some continuing debates relating to disability, including whether the philosophy of universal design — design that is meant to benefit everybody — sufficiently accommodates those with special needs.

The philosophy aims to make physical spaces, products, and even learning itself accessible to all. What does that mean on campuses?

Recent federal decisions have upended college policies on two important questions: whether students may keep emotional-support animals in dorms, and whether colleges may bar suicidal students from campus.

Scholars with mental, neurobiological, or learning disorders often find themselves struggling in silence. Several of them tell how they have found ways to succeed.

Explore data on the race, ethnicity, and gender of students at 4,605 colleges and universities in the fall of 2014.

These campuses have advanced from doing the minimum necessary to meet the needs of those with mobility impairments to understanding that their experience should be the same as anyone else’s.

Even students who aren’t enrolled at Landmark College can attend its summer program, where they develop strategies to help them succeed when they return to their home campuses.

Overcoming stigmas is one of many challenges for students on the autism spectrum.

Everyone has a dialect and an accent, and one isn't better than another. A program at North Carolina State teaches students and faculty to respect how others speak.

Gallaudet University architects and researchers are establishing design guidelines that may be useful to other communities with sensory and accessibility concerns.


Colleges must be prepared to engage in difficult conversations about mental illness with students and their families, writes a professor with dual perspectives on the problem.

A student’s account of her lonely battle with anorexia highlights the need for college employees to show that they care.

For the sake of students with and without disabilities, we need more research on the value of various instructional accommodations.

Helping students develop an awareness of their own cultural narratives and differences requires concrete strategies.

Presenting the classroom as an emotionally neutral space does a disservice to students trying to make sense of the racial realities unfolding around them.

Simplify it, urges one student who barely got through the lengthy form. Either that or provide a lot more support in completing it.

Until the contradiction between welcoming and delegitimizing low-income, first-generation students is removed, colleges will not be truly inclusive.

Those dollar figures reflect an institution’s true priorities, and too often multicultural-affairs offices are left begging.

An experimental seminar teaches some essential cognitive and behavioral skills to first-year students at risk of dropping out.