Exploring the inclusion of college students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) in recreation and sports through the lens of organizational level stakeholders

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lindsey Ruth Oakes (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Robert Strack

Abstract: Participation in recreation and sports can produce physical and social health benefits for all college students and can open pathways to inclusion for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). Given that individuals with IDD continually experience exclusion, segregation, physical and social inactivity, it is possible that college students with IDD also experience low levels of inclusion in campus recreation and sports. Despite the growing number of college students with IDD on over 260 college campuses across the United States, there is a dearth of literature exploring their inclusion within campus recreation and sports. This dissertation explored the main research question of examining how organizational culture of campus recreation and sports departments and inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs support and inhibit the inclusion of college students with IDD. Through an exploration of the organizational culture of IPSE programs, this dissertation also explored the placement of IPSE programs on an academic-specific continuum and broader continuum of inclusion. Two theoretical frameworks were used to view the research questions: the social model of disability and Tierney’s individual institutional culture framework. A constructivist qualitative case study design, which was instrumental and collective, was used with two universities in the Eastern Time Zone and one university in the Central Time Zone of the United States. A Qualtrics survey and site visit were conducted with each IPSE program, and a document review and individual interviews with administrative and frontline staff were conducted with each recreation and sports department. An iterative and comparative process of analysis was utilized and included the use of poetic analysis. This study revealed specific components of the IPSE programs’ organizational culture that supported inclusion: (a) foundational belief in the dignity of risk, (b) absence of a sense of fear, (c) lower levels of structure, (d) supports that are individualized and person-centered, and (e) absence of specialized, segregated programming that is provided by the IPSE program. These components fall within Tierney’s essential concepts of informal mission, strategy, environment, and information. This study also revealed components of the recreation and sports departments’ organizational culture that impacted inclusion: (a) an innate sense of fear in serving students with IDD, (b) tendencies to follow the lead of the respective IPSE program, (c) influenced views of the “best” programming for students with IDD, (d) leadership style and decision-making strategy, and (e) whether or not students with IDD are viewed as university students. Additionally, while the formal mission of a recreation and sports department is an important component of the department’s organizational culture, the formal mission does not have much of an impact on the inclusion of students with IDD, due to the legal and social pressures that motivate the use of language that broadly speaks to inclusion. These components fall within Tierney’s essential concepts of formal mission, informal mission, strategy, leadership, information, and socialization. Students with IDD are a rapidly growing population on college campuses nationwide, and there is a critical need to assess and examine the inclusion of these students within campus life at large. Additional research with IPSE programs that examines inclusion of students with IDD beyond the academic-specific continuum of inclusion is needed and the broader continuum of inclusion should be considered. It is also recommended for the organizational culture of various departments on campus to be explored using Tierney’s individual institutional culture framework.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Campus recreation and sports, College students, Inclusion, Inclusive postsecondary education, Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, Organizational culture
College students with disabilities $x Recreation
College students with disabilities $x Services for
College administrators $x Attitudes
Inclusive education

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