Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Jason Lynch


The number of students diagnosed with autism in public schools is increasing and this special population is now enrolling in colleges and universities. At the K-12 level, numerous supports are provided consistent with federal law; equivalent supports are not required in the postsecondary classroom. Student success often depends on the relationships built in the academic setting. From an instructional perspective, faculty members may have little or no training, limiting their understanding and support of this growing population of students, complicating relationship building. There is a dearth of literature available on the effective training of community college faculty who work with the ASD students.

A quantitative survey instrument, designed as a part of the study, was utilized to gather data from community college faculty members. The findings indicate that although faculty are knowledgeable of ASD characteristics, they are not comfortable reporting that they can identify a student with ASD. Additionally, full-time community college faculty members are more knowledgeable in their pedagogical practices to support ASD students than are part-time faculty members.

Community college leaders may use the quantitative instrument designed in this study to determine if faculty members are competent in their knowledge, recognition, and pedagogical practices to support ASD students in the classroom. More research exclusive to ASD student success at community colleges is needed to provide leaders with information to help this under-served population of students.


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