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Title:College students with a disability attempting science, engineering, or mathematics studies: Fourteen case studies
Author(s):Caldwell, Jennifer Christine
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Travers, Kenneth J.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Mathematics
Education, Special
Education, Technology of
Education, Sciences
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:Fourteen college students in science, engineering, or mathematics (SEM) programs who have a vision/hearing/motor impairment were interviewed to investigate: (1) What might explain why proportionately fewer students with disabilities pursue SEM than others? (2) In light of those factors, why and how do these exceptional "survivors" pursue collegiate SEM studies? After the interviews, a portrait was written for eleven students. The resulting diverse stories show only two commonalities: (1) All were mainstreamed into regular schools--although many were originally denied access. (2) All have been undergoing an intensive search for answers regarding disability and beyond, which evidently shaped their outlook and priorities. This appears consistent with their two categories for pursuing SEM: (1) They had an inherent fascination with SEM since youth, or (2) they found a way to use SEM to reach some charitable goal, consistent with their priorities. Once either of these intrinsic motivations was instilled, extrinsic factors proved to curb or boost their SEM success, all of which require reexamination to make SEM more accessible. These factors include technology, societal attitudes, innovative instruction, and mainstreaming.
Current underrepresentation is attributed to (1) the lateness of the current "wave" of accommodating/including individuals with disabilities and of technological solutions, and (2) to the apparent inconsistencies between SEM's image and the value system of these students. Suggestions for boosting representation empathize targeting the non-disabled population more than students with disabilities; such students do not generally require "fixing" but their able-bodied peers, instructors, policy-makers, and potential employers require enlightenment on misconceptions and accommodations. Suggestions to students with disabilities include pursuing challenging SEM programs and considering personally meaningful applications of SEM, as do the featured students of this study.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Caldwell, Jennifer Christine
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712211
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712211

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