AHEAD Research Agenda

AHEAD is committed to informing, defining and leading the conversation around disability in the postsecondary educational environment.  At the request of the AHEAD Board of Directors, an ad hoc committee was formed to identify research priorities and set an agenda for AHEAD’s role and leadership in the area of research.

The following list of research priorities were established in 2019 with the approval of the AHEAD Board of Directors. The Research Agenda priorities will be reviewed and updated on an organic basis to allow for emerging issues and changing information needs in the field.

Research Priorities

Five broad topics are identified as priority areas for research.  Related subtopics are listed for each area. They are presented in no particular order.

Disability Resource Office Structures, Policies, and Practices

  • Data-based decision making for effective disability resource office structures, practices, and staffing
  • Accommodation decision-making practices (e.g., professional role, student involvement) and procedures (e.g., instructor notification; adherence to protocols)
  • Student development practices (e.g., strategy instruction, disclosure resources, use of technology)

Institutional Structures, Policies, and Practices, Including Supports and Accessibility Work Outside the Disability Resource Office

  • Campus collaboration and structures (e.g., electronic information technology [EIT] committees and policies, inclusive career planning and services)
  • Cross campus programming (e.g., new student orientation, first year experience)
  • Faculty training in implementing academic accommodations (e.g., training methods, frequency, outcomes)
  • Legal issues (e.g., patterns of discrimination complaints and outcomes)
  • Processes for resolving student complaints concerning disability services/accommodations or discrimination

Social Justice Practices

  • Campus assessment and training (e.g., campus climate surveys; training for staff, administration, non-disabled peers)
  • Program design, implementation and outcomes (e.g., universal design, disability studies)
  • Partnership practices with other campus offices that have social justice responsibilities (e.g., social equity offices)

Trends and Outcomes

  • Students with disabilities (e.g., emerging populations, veterans, student-athletes, non-disclosing students, ELL, international, intersectionality, marginalized groups)
  • Admissions to college
  • Graduation and persistence (e.g., national data, campus data)
  • Outcomes from participation in disability resources, campus supports, specialized programs
  • Environmental metrics across campus that reflect trends in inclusion and equity

Use of Existing Research and Data

  • Meta-analyses or systematic reviews on topics such as study strategies, trends in legal compliance, and accommodations (e.g., notetaking, testing, alternate formats, technology). Include literature from partner fields such as special education, rehabilitation counseling, psychology, disability studies, etc.
  • Use of national datasets (e.g., NCES data)