Supporting STEM graduate students with dis/abilities: Opportunities for Universal Design for Learning

Presented at the 2022 ASEE annual conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota

D. C. Beardmore, R. Sandekian, and A. R. Bielefeldt

While little is known about the enrollment and retention rates of STEM graduate students, studies indicate that the way higher education generally approaches STEM graduate programs overlooks and excludes individuals with dis/abilities. This research examines the experiences of STEM graduate students with non-apparent (also called “invisible”) dis/abilities as related through the lens of critical dis/ability theory. In this paper, we review the findings from the first phase of a larger study through the lens of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). We used Harvey’s interview process to explore the experiences of two STEM graduate students who self-identify as having “invisible” dis/abilities or “different abilities” through a progressive series of interviews. In this paper, we review a selection of the participant’s experiences and provide recommendations on how UDL can be implemented to overcome the barriers graduate students may be facing in their coursework, research, and advising. We provide these recommendations in an effort to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all graduate students. Further, we hope that our research findings help individuals serving university students at any level in any discipline ask what opportunities they have to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment through the tenants of UDL.

Roadway design and construction in infrastructure limited contexts: a risk breakdown structure

International Journal of Construction Management (2022)

D. C. Beardmore and K. R. Molenaar

The United Nation’s sustainable development goals prioritize roadway development, as it is necessary for socio-economic prosperity. Despite rapid growth in the industry, progress has been crippled by budget and schedule overruns. There is often a lack of knowledge regarding risks that could impact project success. A content analysis of published research is performed to construct a preliminary risk identification and analysis framework—in the form of an initial risk breakdown structure (RBS) and codebook. They include 16 subcategories within the following six categories: ‘construction & planning’, ‘economic & financial’, ‘regulatory & legal’, ‘equipment, materials, & land’, ‘site disposition’, and ‘relations & recruitment’. This study provides researchers and project parties—including owners, contractors, consultants, and financial institutions—with a starting point to discuss and identify context-specific risks. It also suggests areas for future research.

A call to make Queer erasure, violence, and battle fatigue in STEM visible

in Queering STEM Culture in US Higher Education: Navigating Experiences of Exclusion in the Academy Kelly Cross, Bryce Hughes, and Stephanie Farrell (2022)

D. C. Beardmore

In this chapter, I explore my experiences as they relate to social phenomena within STEM culture through the lens of my intersecting identities. I share vignettes from my STEM career and education,  particularly through the lens of my gender identity. Specifically, I depict experiences that introduce the erasure, compounding violence, and subsequent battle fatigue I endure. I then introduce some of the current discussions in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) arena and describe how we can “call” violence “in”.

Navigating the academy in the absence of graduate dis/ability accommodation policies

Presented at the 2022 CoNECD annual conference, New Orleans, Louisiana

D. C. Beardmore

University accommodation policies and departmental practices often overlook engineering
graduate students with disabilities. The failure of policies and programs to consider graduate students with disabilities is reflected by the dearth in the literature pertaining to them. Responding to this gap in knowledge, I conduct an exploratory qualitative study. I explore the experiences of two engineering graduate students who identify as having invisible disabilities or different abilities. Using a dialogic serial interview process, the participants and I co-develop a rich-vivid phenomenology. I include a portion of the findings in this manuscript. Specifically, I focus on the participant’s experiences with accommodation policies and practices while navigating their graduate programs. I discuss the findings as they relate to concepts in literature and my own auto-ethnographic experience. I also provide researchers, students, faculty, staff, and policymakers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academia with recommendations. Finally, I present the research community with areas for further academic study.

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