Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Disability, Student Affairs, Competencies, Competence, Standards

Major Advisor

Joseph W. Madaus

Associate Advisor

Allison R. Lombardi

Associate Advisor

Sue A. Saunders

Associate Advisor

Hariharan Swaminathan

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Lack of disability-related knowledge and skills by higher education faculty and student affairs professionals are recognized as barriers to the promotion of equal access and success of students with disabilities. Although an expanding body of research exists on the preparation of faculty to meet the needs of students with disabilities, little focus has been placed on the preparation of student affairs professionals beyond those working in disability services offices. Despite research noting that all student affairs professionals need to possess disability-related knowledge, skills, and dispositions; no comprehensive listing of disability-related competencies exists for student affairs practitioners outside of disability services. Given the specialized nature of the disability services functions, disability services competencies are not appropriate for guiding the development of other professionals within student affairs with more generalist responsibilities. Thus, those student affairs professionals outside of disability services are left with little guidance as to the knowledge, dispositions, and skills needed to adequately serve students with disabilities. The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive and agreed upon set of disability-related competencies important to student affairs generalist work. A three-round Delphi method is used with a panel of 20 experts in the area of student affairs and disability. Results of the study find 36 disability-related knowledge, disposition, and skill items important to student affairs generalist work. Implications for research and practice are discussed.