Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration
Literature on perceptions of students with disabilities has been studied over the years and in a variety of ways but has yet to qualitatively address students with mental health concerns, particularly from a perspective that analyzes perceptions across academic departments. This is problematic, given that students with disabilities are pursuing a postsecondary education at increasing rates, with simultaneous increases in students seeking mental health support (Burwell, 2018; Roy, 2018). In turn, the purpose of this cross-departmental case study is to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the perceptions that faculty had of students with mental health concerns at a mid-size four-year public institution of higher education in the midwestern United States. 14 faculty members of varying rank, type, and experience were interviewed across 11 different academic departments. Using disability theory as the theoretical lens, the data collected helped fill a much needed gap in the perceptions literature by working to understand the perceptions that faculty have of students with mental health concerns. Engaging in a thematic analysis, this study revealed three key themes (a) integration of mental health in the classroom/job duties, (b), faculty concerns for managing the line of care, and (c) opinions of training. Together, these themes reveal that faculty perceptions vary across academic disciplines, containing a mix of both positive and negative perceptions, but are generally positive in nature. Based on the findings, implications for practice and recommendations for future research are presented to further the discussion on perceptions of students with disabilities in higher education.
McDowell, Zach, "Faculty Perceptions of Students with Mental Health Concerns at a Four-Year Institution: a Qualitative Cross-departmental Analysis" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1322.