Synthesis of Research
This section summarizes the body of literature related to the professional development of postsecondary staff and administrators to assure equal access to campus services for students with disabilities. The information is applicable to student service areas such as registration, recruiting and admissions, financial aid, housing and residential life, computer labs, tutoring and learning centers, distance learning, libraries, and career services. The topic areas discussed in the research synthesis were selected and developed in collaboration with twenty-three DO-IT Admin project team members. The Implications for Practice section for each topic shows how the specific body of knowledge can be applied to professional development.
The literature shared in this section provides the foundation for the presentation content included in other sections of this notebook. The delivery strategies in the sections Presentation Tips and Presentations are also based on this body of knowledge. Professional development facilitators may find this foundation useful as they develop effective staff and administrator training materials and programs.
Each subsection is organized around key questions that must be addressed in developing educational opportunities for postsecondary staff and administrators in campus service units. Key subsection topics and questions are listed below.
Professional Development: Need, Content, and Methods
- Why do campus staff and administrators need to make student services accessible to students with disabilities?
- What do we know about the knowledge, experiences, and attitudes of postsecondary staff and administrators regarding students with disabilities? What do staff and administrators want and need to know about providing accessible student services for students with disabilities? How do staff and administrators want to gain this knowledge?
- What do students with disabilities think staff and administrators need to know about providing accessible student services?
- What do we know about adult learning that can be applied to the design and delivery of professional development for staff and administrators regarding equal access of students with disabilities to student services?
- What do we know about universal design that can guide the development of accessible facilities, services, and information resources for students with disabilities?
- What do we know about universal design of instruction that can guide the design and delivery of professional development for staff and administrators?
- What do we know about systemic change that can guide the design and implementation of professional development for staff and administrators regarding universal access to their services and programs?
- What do we know about the institutionalization of professional development activities for staff and administrators?
In each topic area, specific questions are followed by an overview of research literature, as well as suggestions for applying the respective research to presentations. Note that research in several different areas supports some of the same recommendations, thereby reinforcing essential characteristics of successful professional development programs.