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  • Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach by Nancy J. Evans, Ellen M. Broido, Kirsten R. Brown, and Autumn K. Wilke
  • Karen A. Myers
Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach
Nancy J. Evans, Ellen M. Broido, Kirsten R. Brown, and Autumn K. Wilke
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 515pages. $45.00 (hardcover), $36.99 (e-book)

In Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach, Evans, Broido, Brown, and Wilke did an outstanding job creating a resource for disability scholars, faculty, and practitioners and a textbook for disability education courses within higher education administration, student affairs, disability studies, and human services programs among others. This comprehensive book provides a view of disability in higher education through a social justice lens from its roots to today’s college campus experience—traditional, virtual, and global. Using the social justice lens is one of the main contributions this book makes to the topic of disability in higher education. In doing so, the authors address the power dynamics, institutional oppression, and lack of equity (Goodman, 2001) experienced by individuals with disabilities in a higher education setting. The authors capture this in their critical examination of ableism. Particularly unique to this book are the voices of students with disabilities, sharing their lived experiences.

The authors explain in the preface, “A social justice approach to disability in higher education means beginning with the assumption that people’s abilities to contribute to and benefit from higher education are not dependent on their bodies or psyches conforming to dominant norms . . . . [Rather] barriers to success . . . lie in structural, organizational, physical, and attitudinal aspects of our institutions” (p. xiii). Dividing the book into 4 parts—Foundational Concepts, Population Specific Experiences, [End Page 792] Environmental Issues, and Serving Students —the authors intentionally begin with foundational philosophical, historical, theoretical, and legal concepts, addressing first the social justice lens and language and concluding with recommendations for practice. Each of the 15 chapters begins with personal quotes from students, faculty, and staff with disabilities and disability service providers, and ends with discussion questions, ideal for the classroom setting. Useful tables and appendices appear throughout, supplementing the narrative and providing “snapshot” summaries, including history of disability in the United States; disability models; universal design strategies; and student conduct case law.

Part 1, comprised of 4 chapters, addresses the history of disability in higher education; disability models including the Social Justice (Ableist or Disability Oppression) Model and emerging models—Disability Justice and the Interactionist Model of Disability and disability law related to education in the United States and legislative implications. Chapter 4 is an insightful explanation of the terms impairment, referring to specific physical, psychological, sensory, cognitive, and health-related conditions, and disability, referring to a person’s interaction with barriers in their environment that may hinder equal access and full participation. This section concludes with statistics of college students reporting disabilities and descriptions of those impairments.

Part 2 (3 chapters) addresses disability identity development and multiple aspects of identity, student populations, and faculty and staff with disabilities, the latter being welcomed voices to disability literature. Part 3 is the most extensive unit comprised of 5 chapters addressing the college experience beginning with “The Campus Environment” and “The Campus Climate.” Chapter 10 addresses the application of Universal Design (UD) to higher education. Incorporating user-friendly tables throughout, the chapter illustrates Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Universal Instructional Design (UID), and Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) and concludes with the connection between social justice and the implementation of UD. Chapter 11 explores useful and practical types of assistive and learning technologies and provides examples of accessible, adaptive, and universally designed technology, highlighting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Chapter 12 is filled with examples of effective classroom practices encompassing UDI applications and learning strategies for world language classrooms, STEM disciplines, and fine arts curricula.

Part 4 addresses accommodations for students with disabilities and the entities on college campus who coordinate services. The authors emphasize the shared responsibility of the campus community. Chapters focus on the role of disability resource offices on college campuses; the role student affairs plays to ensure inclusion of individuals with disabilities; and the transition of students with disabilities from...


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pp. 792-794
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