The Impact of Disability-Focused Training Skills at a Two-Year Community College for Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Working with Students with Disabilities



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Legislative mandates and support services provided by disability offices have contributed to an increasing number of students with disabilities (SWDs) enrolling in higher education. The purpose of the study was to explore pre-tenure faculty members' knowledge and use of disability-focused training (DFT) for students with disabilities (SWDs) at a public two-year Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) in Texas. The specific intent of the study was not to observe pedagogical practice but to try to garner information about the pre-tenure faculty members' knowledge and use of DFT in their academic courses. Additionally, to explain how the community college fosters professional development growth in disability awareness for tenure-track faculty at a two-year public Hispanic-serving institution. The study design was guided by the theoretical framework of faculty socialization and conceptualized aspects of organizational socialization to explain how the community college culture fosters professional growth needs specific to tenure-track candidates. Much of the research regarding faculty socialization and organizational socialization for pre-tenure faculty members is focused on four-year post-secondary institutions. As SWDs are enrolling at an increased rate in post-secondary education, legislative mandates are securely in place to ensure equal access to higher education. Despite the increase in enrollments and educational access to post-secondary education, SWDs encounter significant barriers affecting their educational experience in the academic classroom. Five areas that directly affect SWDs in post-secondary education include 1) faculty members' collaboration with the DSSO, 2) reasonable accommodations, 3) universal design for instruction, 4) inclusive instruction, and 5) disability law, which are issues that directly affect SWDs in post-secondary education. Professional development growth and training in the above specific areas is an institutional strategy that shows promise in educating pre-tenure faculty members on the issues and challenges of SWDs. The results of this exploratory study illustrated that the community college needs to support and consider mandatory professional faculty development in DFT for pre-tenure faculty members. This specific type of professional development training has shown that it can positively impact SWDs in higher education. Pre-tenure faculty members must become invested in their role to be responsive in assisting SWDs in their courses. As such, pre-tenure faculty members play a critical institutional role in improving student success outcomes for all students.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2174. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.



community college, disability-focused training, faculty socialization, pre-tenure faculty members, professional development training, students with disabilities