Purdue University Graduate School
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Understanding The Role of Ableism in Higher Education

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posted on 2023-12-12, 22:31 authored by Vanessa Lynn LaRocheVanessa Lynn LaRoche

Institutions of higher education within the United States have not had a reputation of inclusivity. The discrimination and oppression of people with disabilities is an important topic of conversation within these educational spaces, not only to change the way that society thinks of disability on a whole, but to incite discussions surrounding the best ways to support students with disabilities and their educational goals. This paper will provide a deconstruction of what ableism is, how it impacts mental health and wellness and how it shows up within institutions of higher education. This paper will also provide details on a training course for higher education faculty members that provides practical applications of the ethical ways of creating a supportive learning environment for students with disabilities. This paper will explore how critical disability theory, the social model and some aspects of the medical model can be utilized to provide faculty and staff with the competency to understand and interact with students with disabilities in ways that not only support their learning but contribute to positive social change and the deconstruction of ableist actions.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Behavioral Sciences

Campus location

  • Hammond

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Christopher K. Belous

Additional Committee Member 2

Mialauni Griggs

Additional Committee Member 3

Anne Edwards