Exploring Students’ with Learning Disabilities Perceptions of Faculty Support and Bias

Carolyn P Corbran, Fordham University


This work explored how the experiences of students with learning disabilities (SLDs) using accommodations in college and graduate courses were impacted by their perceptions of their faculty as supportive or unsupportive of their learning and accommodation needs. This work paid attention to the differences between supportive and unsupportive faculty each participant chose to discuss during interviews and what impact those experiences had on their self-efficacy, self-regulated learning strategies, and course performance. Taken together these conversations with SLDs were conducted to learn how faculty can better support SLDs, and the findings section identifies key themes for faculty consideration that emerged. Findings support previous literature identifying a reluctance to disclose accommodation needs for fear of negative faculty perceptions of ability. Study participants discussed the harmful impact of experiencing disability microaggressions, accommodation denials, and lower performance in courses where they felt unsupported by faculty. Issues with disability support providers (DSP) emerged and are addressed as well such as need for greater sensitivity to SLDs, training for faculty, and compliance concerns. Additionally, many supportive themes emerged highlighting actions faculty took to assist SLDs were appreciated by students and promoted higher motivation among SLDs to succeed academically in those courses. Implications for faculty, DSP offices, and institutions are discussed. In addition to this five-chapter dissertation a website was created as a training resource for reaching a wider audience.

Subject Area

Disability studies|Higher education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Corbran, Carolyn P, "Exploring Students’ with Learning Disabilities Perceptions of Faculty Support and Bias" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28263088.