This case study sought to determine the most salient needs of higher education faculty who instruct and accommodate students with disabilities (SWDs). Therefore, the faculty were analyzed as a community in a university setting. Currently, the accommodations that faculty provide for SWDs vary from institution to institution. Additionally, certain variables, such as faculty’s years with the university, budget, size, and location of the institution impact the level of support provided and what specific accommodations SWDs receive.The purpose of this qualitative case study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the current level of knowledge that faculty obtain for accommodating SWDs. Data were collected by triangulation from three sources: surveying and interviewing higher education faculty, examining the main policy structure, and analyzing student data and university documents. This study sought to determine what impact faculty members have on their SWDs, what current knowledge faculty have of special education policies, and what instructional techniques faculty members employ in their classrooms (Sugishita & Dresser, 2019). National special education legislation has been amended to ensure that all K-12 educators are trained and are highly qualified, yet this national mandate does not apply to higher education faculty since they obtain advanced degrees. Consequently, higher education faculty escape special education training (Smith, 2005). The primary research questions are: what are the academic supports that faculty have provided to SWDs and were these interventions successful, what is the general pattern of the university model of supporting SWDs in the University, and what do faculty recommend to their university and other universities for instructing SWDs? In organizations, such as higher education institutions, decisions and policies are designed and employed consensually. Therefore, decisions are made in groups or committees, often requiring a consensus to make a decision. Consequently, when policies are developed in a committee setting, there is a lesser degree of conflict among colleagues (Miandehi,1997). The researcher used a cross-sectional approach, including surveys to gain background knowledge, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis, to gain insight into evolving themes. This study resulted in an increased in-depth understanding of accommodations used by faculty in an institutional context, including specially designed instruction and differentiation of instruction (The IDEA, 2012). Finally, it resulted in tailored training for faculty in the necessary supports and resources for postsecondary SWDs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College students with disabilities -- Services for; People with disabilities -- Education (Higher); Universities and colleges -- Faculty -- Training of

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eric R. Hamilton