Laurier and NEADS SSHRC Project on Graduate Students With Disabilities

Waterloo/Ottawa, March 9, 2022

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is pleased to report their involvement in a new partnership with a research team from Wilfrid Laurier University that currently includes Dr. Kathleen Clarke (Assistant Professor - Faculty of Education) and Aleksandra Vojnov (Research Assistant and Graduate Student - Master of Education program). 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, postsecondary institutions have shifted their approach to student learning and support, with the bulk of higher education now provided remotely. Experts have raised concerns about the impact of this shift on students with disabilities, including questions around the accessibility of courses, programming, and the types of accommodations provided. These discussions, however, have focused overwhelmingly on undergraduate students while overlooking the distinct experiences of graduate students with disabilities. Examining the experiences of this particular student population is essential given that the goals, scope, and aims of graduate school differ from those of the undergraduate level.

In partnership with the NEADS, this SSHRC-funded project will provide an in-depth understanding of the experiences of graduate students with disabilities throughout the pandemic, and will identify approaches for best supporting these students. The objectives are to:

1. Identify how graduate students with disabilities are faring throughout the pandemic with regards to their academic, employment, and financial circumstances.

2. Determine how graduate students with disabilities perceive the effectiveness of shifting services and accommodations during COVID-19, including potential barriers to accommodation and/or innovative practices that have emerged.

The project involves a national survey as well as follow-up interviews with volunteers. NEADS will be sharing updates about the project as it progresses and will also share information about how to participate when the opportunity arises. 

Kathleen Clarke, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education 


75 University Avenue West 

Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3C5 

Pronouns: she/her/hers | Learn more about the importance of personal pronouns 

Email: | Twitter 


Aleksandra Vojnov
Master of Education Student, Faculty of Education
75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3C5
Pronouns: she/her/hers, Email:

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel. (613) 380-8065, ext. 201

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