Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2024

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Professional Writing


Department of English

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Erin Bahl

Second Advisor

Dr. Marion Quirici


The lack of instructors prepared to work with deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) students in higher education causes course accessibility barriers (Palmer et al., 2019; National Deaf Center [NDC] of Postsecondary Outcomes, n.d) and increased stress for students and instructors (Valle-Flórez et al., 2021; Salko, 2023). These obstacles inhibit DHOH student graduation rates and workforce entry (Garberoglio, 2019). Instructors require more training to effectively support DHOH students with best practices beyond basic accommodations. This qualitative research study presents phenomenological data from six interviews conducted with participants from one large, southeastern, R2 public university (Kennesaw State University, [KSU]) and one Instructional Design consultant from Gallaudet University. The interviewees included DHOH students, English instructors, and student and faculty support service providers. The researcher’s autoethnographic reflection as a hard of hearing student intersected with interview data to construct a model for instructor-student collaboration on comprehensive accessibility. These findings echoed the trends identified in current literature: instructors and DHOH students agreed that instructors require more training and resources on DHOH student needs. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers a gateway for instructors to design comprehensive accessibility within their courses (Dolmage, 2017; Cumming & Rose, 2022). This study generated a professional development workshop and an open-access digital guide for KSU to train its English Department instructors. Those materials and the findings offer a model for continued expansion of instructor-focused, UDL-based DHOH student support through trainings, guides, and increased service connections for universities across the US.

Included in

Accessibility Commons