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Current Practices and Policies are Not Enough

It Is Time to Take a Different Approach

The research is clear.

Disabled college students drop out of college and training programs, don’t complete their degrees, and experience lower employment rates than their peers. What we’re doing now for them is not working.

At the National Disability Center, our goals are also clear — and take an innovative approach.


Provide a comprehensive and actionable research foundation that identifies factors at the individual, instructor, and institutional levels that support disabled students in program persistence, degree completion, and entry into the workforce.

Provide interdisciplinary training experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, including those with disabilities and intersectional identities, to prepare the next generation of researchers in the field.

Develop accessible research translation materials for researchers, instructors, and
administrators to readily and effectively utilize research findings in their relevant settings.
How will we achieve these goals?

By leveraging a collaborative model of research, leadership, and capacity building that is:

Disabled student-centered
Closing the Knowledge Gap

The Importance of the Lived Experience

Part of the knowledge and practice gap in higher education is due to the significant under-representation of disabled perspectives in research, leadership, and services. These gaps can be seen in all postsecondary pathways — career and technical training, 2-year community college, or a 4-year program.

There is, therefore, a disconnect between the lived experiences of disabled students, current policies and practices to support their postsecondary success, and the research foundation for future interventions.

This National Disability Center aims to close that gap.

Implementing Evaluation and a Logic Model

We place a high value on evaluation and formative assessment, part of the build-engage-iterate philosophy that guides all of our activities.

Our evaluation team is led by Director of Evaluation and Co-Investigator Greg Roberts and his colleagues at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk.

Their first task was to create the National Disability Center Logic Model, a graphic illustration of the relationship between our resources, activities, and their intended effects — to clearly and concisely show progress toward achieving goals.

The evaluation team will also:
  • Assist leadership as they seek to monitor the success of Center activities and respond to data requests
  • Develop formative assessments to track our activities
  • Aggregate feedback from stakeholders who engage in each of the main capacity-building activities
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