Q: What is Inclusive Higher Education?

A: INCLUSIVE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION CELEBRATE INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY in the same way that they celebrate racial, gender, cultural, religious, and other forms of diversity. They recognize that diverse learners require and inspire pedagogical innovation, and that innovation benefits all students. They place value on experiences and perspectives of others, respect all forms of learning, and provide opportunities for all students to develop to their fullest potential.

INCLUSION IS REALIZED WHEN THERE IS MUTUAL AND ONGOING BENEFIT among people of varying abilities, gender identity, culture, socio-economic status, race, and other forms of diversity, with shared eagerness to create and sustain those relationships across all aspects of higher education.

INCLUSION IS DEPENDENT ON INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNAL PERSPECTIVES, moving beyond benevolence, clinical/medical interests, or indifference to an attitude about and perception of ability that demonstrates a value placed upon difference throughout the higher education community.

Q: Will including students with IDD compete with, or overburden, the disability services office on campus?

A: An inclusive college initiative will not replace or compete with existing disability services. It will be a new choice for students who are interested in postsecondary education and are looking for the widest range of learning opportunities at the college.

Like other students with disabilities, these students are likely to request accommodations from disability services. Unlike other students, though, they may receive additional support, including educational coaches or mentors. So disability services staff will not take on additional work for these students in comparison to students with other disabilities.

Q: Students will need to be kept safe on campus. Is that possible? Will this cause their parents to be overly involved in their college life?

A:  Like all other students on campus, students with IDD can attend orientation where campus safety and the code of conduct are reviewed. Students may also receive individual safety instruction, if necessary, and are encouraged to carry a cell phone. In addition, all parents adjust to letting their sons and daughters learn to navigate college on their own. The IHECP offers a separate college orientation for parents and requires parents and students to participate in student accountability and safety procedures.

Q: Faculty are not trained to teach students with disabilities. Won’t faculty be burdened by adjusting their teaching?

A:  Faculty are not expected to change their course expectations or teaching methods. However, all students benefit from courses designed and taught according to the principles of effective faculty practices and universal design. These trainings are available on campus and online. Typical additional student supports include mentors and educational coaches, tutors, and other low-cost accommodations.

Q: What will the other college students think about having students with IDD in their classes?

A:  Most college students without disabilities are either neutral or positive about having classmates with IDD. This generation of students have experienced inclusive education and community participation by people with disabilities throughout their lives.

Q: Will having students with IDD impact the academic integrity of the college?

A:  Personnel from other colleges indicate that including students with IDD on their campuses has had a positive influence on the climate of their classes by instilling a climate of high academic standards and collective intelligence.

Q: Will the students with IDD take seats away from more eligible candidates for a course?

A:  Students with IDD are registering for college classes for the same reason every other student is: to pursue a personal or career goal. Many will use the same registration process as other students however, some students may have priority registration provided as an accommodation. In addition, many of these students audit classes and may not be seeking a degree. It is extremely rare for other students to feel that they are competing with students with IDD; instead, they feel that having these students in class with them enhances their course experience.

Q: Won’t having students with IDD hurt the accountability the college has to increase student matriculation and completion rates?

A:  College students with IDD are a very small fraction of the student body, and have a special student status. Since they are not fully matriculated, their participation is not likely to impact matriculation and completion rates. Note, however, that students with IDD often complete their courses (with supports) at a higher rate than the general student population.

Additional questions?
Please contact us at: info@IHECP.com