Researchers examine the new landscape of higher education, which is changing and evolving in the twenty-first century, as many non-traditional students, especially learners with physical disabilities, are “knocking on the door of higher education” (Harbour and Madaus, 2011, p. 1). Students with physical disabilities must decide how they desire to become engaged (or not) in campus life. This study also provides a theoretical lens of the moral responsibility of the multicultural academic community. Thus, the purpose of this study is to present findings that indicate gaining insight into the isolation, stigma and advocacy of these students’ lived experiences will require openness for inclusive practices to uplift all students with goals of graduation and employment.
This research investigation includes the process of discovery being analyzed and interpreted through participants’ narratives as a rigorous act of coding, imagination and logic to aggregate findings. To elicit the findings most effectively, transcendental phenomenology is the specific qualitative approach chosen for this study.
This study includes critical findings that indicate gaining insight into the isolation, stigma and advocacy of these students’ lived educative experiences. Concerns regarding communication and support are emphasized through the participants in the findings.
A core limitation would be that this study takes places without regard for historical lived experiences.
Implications exist for this new landscape of Higher Education, as we work beyond the gates of higher education for real-change and social progress. We need to learn about others (non-traditional students) while working toward multicultural competence that should be modeled in academic spaces to impart this knowledge to students to impart into broad society. Let us remember the growth that happens when social support exists, because each person has a value and role in society so that we live together and support each other in lessons of self-empowerment
This is an original study about learners with physical disabilities and the moral issues of how to create an inclusive, multicultural environment in higher education.
Mays, B. and Brevetti, M. (2020), "Lessons on ways to develop self-empowerment: A phenomenological study of the lived experiences of higher education learners with physical disabilities", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-06-2019-0047Download as .RIS
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