Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Chair; Jerome Ammer, PhD, Member; Bobbie J. Atkins, PhD, Member


administration, California, community colleges, disabilities, Disabled Students Programs and Services--DSPS, higher education, knowledge, Leadership studies, training needs


Students with disabilities enroll in two-year institutions at a higher rate than in four-year institutions. The California community college system, which is the largest system of higher education in the world, enrolled 2,609,365 students with disabilities during the 2000–2001 academic year. The purpose of this study was to focus on California college administrators and their role in: (a) setting a climate that supports students with disabilities and (b) serving as a resource to faculty and staff. Administrators were surveyed regarding their (a) current knowledge and training needs; (b) personal and professional experience with individuals with disabilities; and (c) utilization of existing training and resources. Comparative data were collected from Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) professionals to identify significant differences in existing knowledge, information need, utilization of existing training and resources, and experience. Administrators were knowledgeable about how to accommodate students, but were less knowledgeable about who was responsible for the various steps associated with the accommodation process. The findings indicated that administrators needed more information about their institutions' commitment to barrier-free access to learning as well as the overall physical accessibility of the campus. The DSPS group rated administrators' need for information significantly higher than the administrator group. The administrators who participated in this study reported a higher rate of interaction with students with disabilities and seemed more aware of the DSPS role compared to other studies. These findings suggest there are promising developments occurring at California's Community Colleges, which make it a favorable environment for students with disabilities.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access