Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Education Policy, Planning, and Administration
Heather Schugar, Ph.D.
David J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Sendy Guerrier Alcidonis, Ph.D.
The absence of research around the experiences of faculty with (invisible) disabilities is critically needed within the academy. Often (invisible) disabilities remain in the shadows because they are non-apparent until publicly disclosed. Equitable access, sustainable resources, and university communications around (invisible) disabilities can impact disclosure decisions.
This social justice mixed methods inquiry used an explanatory sequential design to explore factors that contributed to faculty disclosure and/or non-disclosure of their (invisible) disability(ies). For some faculty, the “choice” around disclosure was non-negotiable as a result of a myriad of reasons, one being their access needs. The overall process, navigation, and decision making around disclosure can be complicated and complex for disabled faculty. Utilizing a qualitative survey, six themes emerged: (a) positive representation, (b) classroom disclosure, (c) necessity for accommodations, (d) negativity around disability disclosure, (e) perceived faculty capabilities, and (f) varying levels of disclosure within the university environment. Three additional themes surfaced from the semi-structured interviews: (a) intersections of faculty identities, (b) understanding and negotiating disability identity, and (c) revelations from the pandemic. Finally, from a document analysis review of 51 college and university websites four themes emerged: (a) complexity of website navigation, (b) absence of (invisible) disability language, (c) resources focused primarily on faculty supporting students with disabilities, and (d) difficulty finding accommodation processes. This study aimed to spotlight disclosure experiences of disabled faculty, explore information communicated through university websites about (invisible) disabilities, and inspire a disability-centered futurity with a call to action positioning disability-justice at the axis within the academy.
Gray, Tiffany, "From the Shadows to the Spotlight: Centering the Experiences of Faculty with (Invisible) Disabilities" (2022). West Chester University Doctoral Projects. 158.