Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Upton, Tom

Abstract

This study measured postsecondary faculty attitudes toward academic accommodations and an inclusive teaching method called Universal Design for Instruction (UDI). The purpose of the study was to help determine a readiness for change among faculty with regard to implementing UDI principles, compare differences between faculty groups, as well as add to the postsecondary UDI research agenda. UDI requires faculty instructional design and has the potential to reduce the need for individualized academic accommodations and increase the retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities. The study included an online survey e-mailed to 1,621 faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). Independent variables included: amount of teaching experience, teaching status (i.e., full-time, part-time), academic discipline, and amount of prior disability-related training. Results showed significant differences among faculty based upon amount of teaching experience, prior disability-related training, and academic discipline. Generally, faculty with more teaching experience and prior disability-related training had more favorable attitudes toward accommodations and UDI concepts. Faculty in the colleges of Applied Sciences and Arts (ASA), Education, and Mass Communication and Media Arts had more favorable attitudes toward multiple means of presentation than the colleges of Science and Liberal Arts. Faculty in the college of Education had more favorable attitudes toward providing accommodations than the college of ASA. The study effectively started a dialogue with SIUC faculty on their willingness to use UDI principles. Overall, faculty reported mostly positive attitudes toward UDI concepts and traditional academic accommodations. Results could be utilized when proceeding with targeted training for faculty on UDI in postsecondary settings.

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