Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type

Degree of Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Toni Franklin

Third Advisor

Dr. Gina Sheeks


Students with disabilities in higher education have lower retention and graduation rates than students without disabilities. While postsecondary administrators are attempting to meet the needs of students by implementing necessary reforms, barriers remain like issues with disclosure, transition planning, and faculty knowledge. This present qualitative descriptive case study sought to explore the instructional practices that were implemented by technical college educators to accommodate students with learning challenges, including students with disabilities, utilizing the Universal Design for Learning framework to determine which current technical college faculty instructional accommodations practices intersect with or diverge from Universal Design for Learning principles. The participants were a purposeful sample of 12 full-time technical college faculty members from six technical colleges in a southern state with at least five years of teaching experience at the postsecondary level and had worked with at least one student with a disability. Data were collected in three phases through the Universal Design for Learning Checklist, Semi-structured Interviews, and Document Analysis of course syllabi. Frequency counts and thematic analysis were utilized to analyze the data. This qualitative research has implications for identifying consistent and best instructional practices that positively impact the academic achievement of college students with disabilities. The findings indicated that technical college faculty have been implementing Universal Design for Learning instructional strategies, both intentionally and unknowingly, in an attempt to provide equitable access to all students regardless of ability and that technical college students can benefit from the implementation of Universal Design for Learning principles into college courses. The findings also implied that professional development training can become a vital aspect of instructors' improvement programs to enlighten them about strategies that are available to improve their work with students with disabilities.