In recent years, great strides have been taken towards equal opportunities in higher education for those with disabilities. From accommodating students who find it easier to study an online EDD degree such as that offered by Maryville University to making provisions on campus and in independent living arrangements in dorms and other housing options, moves are being made in the right direction, but more is yet to be accomplished.
The Task of Administrators in Making Provisions for Students with Disabilities
It is actually the task of administrators to see to it that all government regulations are met, but even beyond that, administrators are asked to take an active role in making provisions that may be above what is required. Each local campus has its own set of advantages and disadvantages in terms of access that may meet with minimum requirements, but are not quite in keeping with the special needs of students in that region of the country. Whether needs are greater based on large programs for physically disabled students in the region or simply an influx of disabled applicants, to put it simply: some universities and post-secondary institutions have greater needs than others.
A Need for Leadership in Higher Education
One of the issues that has arisen within the past few years is that there is a real need for leadership in higher education; leadership above and beyond academic issues that need to be dealt with on an ongoing basis. There are various levels of disability and so students in a program working towards a higher education leadership degree are asked to evaluate needs based on their observations, and perhaps work that into their thesis at some point. Higher education is only ‘higher’ if it meets the needs of the many, not a select few who have the funds or physical ability to meet all of the challenges a graduate degree poses.
Defining Where a Difference Can Be Made
The goal of making higher education available to students with disabilities is to define needs and to provide solutions to problems that hinder them from attaining degrees those without disabilities handle easily. In defining needs, it becomes possible to begin working towards solutions. Unless needs are identified nothing can be done. While providing an online EDD degree solves issues for students with physical disabilities, it doesn’t answer questions raised for making classrooms and extracurricular activities more accessible to those who want to physically attend.
Some say that there has been too little done too late as a generation of disabled students have been denied access to the same privileges as those without disabilities. In saying that, there are huge organizations that are working towards a better understanding of disabilities in the hopes of offering solutions hitherto unaddressed. It all starts with administration identifying strengths and weaknesses in their own institutions and then bringing current needs to the table. By working together in a network with others in a position of leadership, a nationwide reform may solve most issues once and for all. The goal of an EDD degree is to provide excellence in education and that can only be accomplished if it is inclusive of all students at all levels of ability.