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University of New Brunswick
Disabled Students Experiences of the Hidden Realities of Student Self Advocacy- University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, Nouveau-Brunswick
Disabled Students Experiences of the Hidden Realities of Student Self Advocacy

January 9, 2018 by the University of New Brunswick

“It’s All About Control”: Disabled Students’ Experiences of the Hidden Realities of Student Self-Advocacy will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in Marshall d’Avray, 356, with a reception to follow.

This is a free public event, join us Live Streamed at

Disabled students in Canadian universities obtain academic accommodations through an individualized service approach. Yet actual support implementation is variably dependent on their ability to self-advocate, to navigate policy and process, and on faculty willingness to accommodate. Dr. Bruce’s presentation will explore findings from a study that drew on the under-represented voices of disabled students in an examination of self-advocacy in order to uncover the production and disruption of marginalization. Her research also aims to expand our understanding of how faculty, who are frequently discussed as barriers to post-secondary inclusion, might facilitate meaningful education for diverse learners. Dr. Bruce’s findings indicate that through the required and narrowly defined phenomenon of self-advocacy, disabled students enter into a precarious reality that privileges ableist normativity and naturalizes disability as undesirable. However, her findings also suggest that attending to positive and reciprocal student/faculty relationships could significantly change how universities think about and respond to disability.

Cynthia Bruce holds a PhD in Educational Studies from Acadia University in Wolfville ,Nova Scotia, Canada. She is also a faculty member in Acadia’s School of Education where she teaches courses in Disability studies in Education, qualitative research and research design, and diversity and inclusion. Cynthia brings her experience as a blind woman, a disabled student, and a disability activist to her teaching and to her research into the experiences of disabled university students in Nova Scotia. Her specific interest is in exploring how students negotiate access to post-secondary learning, and in understanding the diverse ways that they make meaning of those experiences. Her work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies and the Journal of the International Association for Special Education. She has presented nationally and internationally on issues of disability, ableism, and post-secondary education; and she has just been selected to contribute a book chapter related to her articulation of blind methodologies to an edited international collection on disability and research.

Contact: Catherine Foster
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