Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony A.

Committee Member

Davis, James

Committee Member

Wiseman, Martin W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Community colleges face great challenges in dealing with students with disabilities. The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is to extend protection against discrimination to individuals with disabilities. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act is very general and does not address specific situations, the fact is clear that colleges are mandated to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Proper implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act is necessary not only to assure compliance with the law but also to assure that every student is afforded equal opportunity to achieve success in college. The problem of the study was to ascertain the extent to which the 15 community colleges in Mississippi have made efforts to provide equal access and equal educational opportunities in accordance with the ADA and with certain standards suggested in scholarly literature related to the topic of students with disabilities. The research suggests that a large part of the effort that has been made by community colleges to accommodate disabled students is reflected in both the policy and procedure manuals and in the operation of the disability services offices. The researcher studied the policy and procedure manuals and the operation of the disability services offices in the 15 Mississippi community colleges to examine the extent to which inclusions recommended by experts in the field are present. The study was divided into two parts. The first part was an examination of the availability and content of policy and procedure manuals to see if they contain what experts in the field consider necessary inclusions. The second part of the study included an examination of the background of the disability services administrators as well as a questionnaire to ascertain the disability services administrators’ perceptions about the operation of the disability services offices. The results of this study indicate that although Mississippi community colleges have made some progress in implementation of the ADA, there are areas that are lacking. For example, 40% of Mississippi community colleges do not have readily available policy and procedure manuals. Additionally, none of the policy and procedure manuals contains all of the inclusions recommended by both experts in the field and by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)