posted on November 05, 2012 11:45
Book by Marianne S. Huger
Review by Stephanie Kirylych
Registrar’s Office, Wellesley College
Where does the primary responsibility of supporting students with disabilities lay? As thoroughly outlined in, Fostering the Increased Integration of Students with Disabilities, the responsibility rests with each member of the institution. This volume, targeted at higher education administrators and faculty members, highlights the role we all can play in integrating students with disabilities into our campuses and provides practical recommendations to support inclusion and integration.
The first four sections focus on specific strategies for creating a welcoming and inclusive campus. Most interesting is the information on universal design for the physical space of a college campus. The author underscores the differences between accessibility and universal design. Salmen explains that the goal of accessibility on a college campus doesn’t do enough to develop an inclusive environment. Accessibility has become synonymous with regulations compliance. Universal design, both inside the classroom and for the facilities, is about providing choices and access to everyone on campus (p. 14).
The sections discussing online learning and study abroad are most applicable for academic advising professionals. As highlighted by Case and Davidson, the number of online courses and degree granting programs has drastically increased and continued growth is projected. While there are many advantages to online learning for all students, but particularly students with disabilities, careful consideration must be given to accessibility of course delivery and content. As an advisor, it is important to understand the different demands of online coursework and help our students think about their learning styles and evaluate whether or not online learning is the right fit.
Like online learning, study abroad programs are experiencing rapid growth. Soneson and Fisher stress the collaborative approach needed for guiding students with disabilities through the study abroad process. Advisors and students should work closely with study abroad offices, disabilities services, and counseling and health services. Additionally, the processes should be clearly defined so that students know what is expected of them at each stage. This section includes an outline of considerations for study abroad accommodation requests, which could be helpful for an academic advisor.
Although not specially written for academic advisors, this volume would be well suited for new advising professionals. While not in my top 10 advising resources, it does serve as a reminder that supporting students with disabilities is the responsibility of, not only the disability services office or counseling center, but the larger faculty and staff.
Fostering the increased integration of students with disabilities (New directions for students services #134) (2011). Book by Marianne S. Huger (Ed.). Review by Stephanie Kirylych. San Franciscno, CA: Jossey-Bass. 115pp., $29.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-1180-9511-9