Engaging Faculty and Tutors in the Success of Community-College Students with Disabilities:
Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, American institutions of higher education have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of enrolled undergraduates with disabilities (Smith 1998). Much of this increase has occurred at the community-college level: 44% of American undergraduates with disabilities attend community colleges, making up 12% of the American community-college student population (Wong Briggs 2006; American Association of Community Colleges 2012a).
According to the American Association of Community Colleges (2012b), America’s community college system accommodates students who self-identify as disabled in creative and important ways; most often by providing these students with “academic counseling, note-takers/scribes/readers, testing accommodations, alternative media, and tutoring services.” As a result, students with disabilities are also completing their community-college education in greater numbers than ever before (ibid).
Yet, the percentage of community-college students who retain to graduation is markedly less than the percentage of typical community-college students who do the same. One reason for this is that full and part-time community-college faculty members, as well as academic tutors in relevant student services, have limited knowledge about the college context and needs of students with disabilities. This series represents one effort to alleviate those limitations at CUNY’s Queensborough Community College. This series has been made possible through the generous support of a CUNY Diversity Projects Development Fund (DPDF) award and the integrated efforts of various offices and departments at Queensborough Community College.
American Association of Community Colleges. 2012a. “Fast Facts.” Washington, DC: American Association of Community Colleges. Retrieved October 9, 2012. (http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/Pages/fastfacts.aspx).
American Association of Community Colleges 2012b. “Disability Support Services in Community Colleges.” Washington, DC: American Association of Community Colleges. Retrieved October 9, 2012. (http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Resources/aaccprograms/projectreach/Pages/surveyofcc.aspx).
Wong Briggs, T. 2006. “An Emphasis on Abilities.” USA Today. Washington, DC: USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2012. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2006-04-23-comm-college-cover_x.htm).