Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In December of 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, now commonly referred to as COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus proved highly contagious and quickly spread around the globe. By April 7, 2020, Stay-at-Home orders and/or directives regarding the closures of non-essential businesses and schools had been issued throughout the US. While there has been considerable research since 2020 regarding the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, nearly all the research has focused on the effects on students, the economic impact on institutions, and the future landscape of higher education. However, there is little research regarding the effect on faculty members with disabilities nor looking at the accessibility of the technologies that were employed to facilitate the transition to online education.

This study was undertaken to better understand how the rapid transition to online instruction impacted faculty members with invisible disabilities, specifically within the realm of higher education at institutions in the United States. Utilizing a nationally disseminated survey, the researcher recruited faculty volunteers for an exploratory case study to investigate the phenomenon and capture the stories of those whose voices have not yet been heard. The results of the study show that protocols enacted in response to COVID-19 had a profound impact on this marginalized group, with both positive and negative outcomes. The findings conclude with an identification of areas where future research is indicated, with hopes that the lessons learned during the pandemic lockdown can be utilized to formulate better institutional policies that address the needs of faculty with invisible disabilities and create more inclusive workplace and community environments that appreciate and cultivate the unique perspectives and talents of this important population.



Committee Chair

Baumgartner, Jennifer J.