Responding to the AAUP Report

Call for Responses:

 Disability Studies Perspectives on the AAUP Report

“Accommodating Faculty Members Who Have Disabilities”


I am inviting approximately 500-750 word responses to the recently-released American Association of University Professors’ report “Accommodating Faculty Members Who Have Disabilities.” (For some brief background on the genesis of this policy, see Schmidt, Peter. “AAUP Overhauls Outdated Guidance on Professors with Disabilities.” Chronicle of Higher Education 22 July 2011.) The aim of these collected responses is to articulate a disability studies perspective on the policy and to explicate the role that such policies might, and do, play in the lives of disabled and non-disabled faculty alike.

I invite broad response, from a variety of areas of focus or commentary, and hope to include a representative range of reactions from faculty across the academy, at all stages and ranks. I especially encourage faculty with administrative experience to weigh in on the report.

Below, I have identified questions that might be starting points for inquiry.

How might a document like this be used at your institution? By whom? For what purposes?

  • How will you use or respond to this document in your professional life?
  • How might such a document impact the lives and experiences of disabled faculty members in higher education?
  • How is disability framed and described in this report?
  • How are disabled faculty framed and described in this report?
  • What change or impact might this document have in the academy? At your institution/in your department?
  • The document points to the importance of identifying the “essential functions” of academic jobs. How might this be realized? What benefits or problems are associated with this approach when disability enters the equation?
  • The report makes a number of recommendations for practice and policy. What additional perspectives or insights from a disability studies lens might be offered on these recommendations?
  • Critique or discuss ableism in/and the report.
  • What personal and/or affective responses did you have towards this report?
  • What does a disability studies perspective contribute to the report as a whole or to specific parts of the report?
  • What conversations should be happening about/around this report? How can/might such conversation happen?


Some possibilities for the final form of the essay might be a single, collaboratively-authored essay or a multivocal essay with different contributions clustered together under subheadings. The voices involved and the shape of our collaboration will in some ways determine the ideal publication venue, although preliminary queries have been sent to several editors. Anonymous or pseudonymous submissions are welcome. All contributors will have the opportunity to review and shape material as it is assembled for publication.

Send inquiries or proposals by July 15, 2012 to Stephanie Kerschbaum,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s