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Accessibility Studies

ASP Faculty Win Literati Award for Chapter on Accessibility and Acceptance for University Students with Diverse Abilities

A chapter written collaboratively by the director of CWU's Accessibility Studies Program and one of her students has been selected by the Emerald Publishing editorial team as an Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2019 Emerald Literati Awards. 

About the Chapter

Accessibility and Acceptance for University Students with Diverse Abilitiespublished in Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning,  examines the efforts made by Central Washington University not only to remove architectural, social, and academic barriers to student success as required by law, but to establish an academic voice for the disability experience and the disability rights movement through the newly founded Accessibility Studies Program. The chapter describes university students with disabilities and their experience in the context of CWU's example of the advances in commitment to inclusion in higher education.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990, comprehensively addressing the life needs and civil rights of people with disabilities (PWDs). Although the ADA would prohibit discrimination in the workforce, public services, transportation, and information, therefore spurring efforts by private and public institutions to plan for and adopt accessible environments and practices, the actual voice and experience of PWDs often remains unacknowledged, even on university campuses and in academic programs that purport to have progressive ideals.

This is the second collaboration for the authors. They also presented From Apathy to Advocacy: How CWU’s Innovative “Accessibility Studies” Program Inspires Change  at the 2017 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education of Adults with Intellectual Disabiltiies.

Sandra J. Gruberg is a Program Coordinator and educator for the Pierce County Coalition for Developmental Disabilities, a non-profit advocacy group for people of all ages who experience developmental disabilities. She is also the mother of a young adult with an intellectual disability and has been advocating for her daughter’s educational inclusion over the last 15 years. Before fully devoting her time to disability advocacy, Sandra served as the Assistant Director of Central Washington University Learning Support Services and was a student in the inaugural run of the Accessibility Studies program.

Naomi Jeffery Petersen (“NJP”) is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Supervision, and Educational Leadership at Central Washington University. She is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University (BA/Ed), Chapman University (MA/Counseling Psychology), and Seattle Pacific University (EdD/Curriculum) where her dissertation was a psychometric investigation of teacher beliefs. As a teacher educator, her instruction and consultation work have been in assessment and professional dispositions with a strong focus on integrating environment, technology, and culture. NJP is the originator of the Accessibility Studies Programs which focus on general accessibility knowledge needed by all people to be advocates and problem-solvers for themselves and others.

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management.  Emerald manages a portfolio of over 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 1,500 teaching cases. Innovations in HIgher Education Teaching and Learning is one of its education book series.  This is the fourteenth volume, focusing on student experiences in higher education and how those experiences shape their identity and influence their academic success. The key factors in identity development and how student experiences in formal, nonformal, and informal learning activities help shape their identities frame the discussion of the main theories and concepts involved in identity formation and how educators can increase their understanding and importance of identity in education. This volume argues that all forms of learning can create a more engaging and democratically oriented student experience. It also argues that inclusive leadership is an important factor in cultivating a rich and dynamic learning environment and bringing about greater equity and inclusion in teaching and learning.

Accessibility Studies Programs at Central Washington University work to define the experiences of people in all environments so the design will achieve maximum functionality and participation. It provides an academic voice for people with a broad range of abilities and we are committed to confronting the stigma, habits, and assumptions that combine to limit full engagement and independence.

The 16-credit, four-course certificate is offered online. The online format makes this certificate accessible to working professionals and other distance learners. The certificate can be completed in one integrated summer session or over a year by taking a course or two each quarter.

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