Even though higher education facilities are working to become more accommodating to people from all walks of life, disabled faculty members - from those with hearing loss to individuals who use a wheelchair - are frequently omitted from these accommodations.
Faculty are the basis of any campus. There are many expectations for the work that they accomplish from coming up with and teaching classes, mentoring students, and contributing to their learning institutions and fields of study.
All of these efforts support a foundation for students to thrive, but it takes a lot of work and coordination to achieve this. It is especially true if you add in disabilities that often go ignored and not accommodated.
Foundational Aspects to Support Disabled Faculty Members
The majority of students do not reveal their disabilities when they start attending college - this also applies to most faculty. It’s their way of avoiding the ongoing negative stigma that usually accompanies people with disabilities. Faculty who face significant risks in regards to their tenure and possible promotions, are even less encouraged to reveal their disability.
One’s disability can progress and their needs may evolve. Some physical and mental health conditions happen unexpectedly, whereas other conditions may become progressive and change as time passes.
Be Aware that Ableism Exists on Your Campus
People with disabilities are frequently discriminated against in their professional pursuits and throughout society in general. The idea of ableism - the notion and behavior that individuals who are not disabled are valued more than people with disabilities - is ingrained in every single system from the design of work environments to the lack of accommodations in various institutions, including academic organizations.
Faculty members who have a disability, have experienced dismissive behavior and passive aggressive hostilities every day one campus. Some of these include:
A simple faculty meeting can have its challenges. They can even be overwhelming for disabled members to manage, especially if they have just been hired.
Disability Accommodations should be Incorporated in a Campus’s Diversity Efforts
A number of efforts have been made to encourage diversity on campuses, but disabled faculty members are usually overlooked. Review the diversity mission statement at your facility.
Have Easier ways to let Disabled Faculty request Accommodations and Encourage Flexible Options for Work
Generally, faculty members who are disabled have frequently encountered obstacles when it comes to the institution and people’s attitudes. Make sure you have a clear and concise process to request your accommodations. Have them paid for, so that you don’t feel like you need to bargain with them to meet your needs. This can alleviate the trouble and stress over advocating for accessibility services.
Give the option of flexible work options for all faculty, which can reduce the need for special requests based on an employee’s disability. We have learned during the pandemic that flexible options were never accepted in most workplaces, but now everyone can benefit from them.
Guarantee Accessibility in Every Aspect of the Job
Faculty members take on several campus roles. They are teachers, advisors, researchers, committee members, supervisors, and advocates for various causes.
When it comes to accommodations, institutions generally concentrate on the necessities for formal instructions or when the faculty members are interacting with students during class. They need to take into consideration the cultural, social, and interpersonal elements of life on campus. Reflect on the following questions in regards to your college:
Be Considerate of the Disabilities
Take requests seriously from faculty who work on college campuses. A change in campus culture must start from the top. The experiences of ableism and inaccessibility can accumulate over time, and lead to severe psychological and emotional tolls. Make an effort to start helpful changes now. For the hard of hearing community, it can be anything from making captions or interpreters easily accessible to using assistive listening devices to help people hear better.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact Pure Sound Hearing. Our providers will help make hearing easier so that you can better participate in all aspects of life.