Research at AHEAD

Guided and informed by its diverse membership, AHEAD is uniquely qualified to bring together researchers and consumers of research to explore and create welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals.

To support scholarship in the field, AHEAD provides open access to its professional journal, the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED). The JPED has published more research on topics relating to postsecondary disability than any other academic journal (Madaus et al., 2018).

AHEAD Research Activity

AHEAD Benchmarking Data

AHEAD conducts biennial surveys of postsecondary disability professionals. This ongoing program has gathered information on professionals and programs since 2008 providing benchmarking data and documenting trends and growth in the field.  

Special Projects

AHEAD conducts selected research on topics of high need or interest to the membership. Many of these projects are done in collaboration with AHEAD members.

  • 2023: Understanding and Assessing Disability Resource Office Staffing Needs
  • 2022-2023: Disability Resource Office Services and Campus Supports for College Students with Intellectual Disability (lead researcher: Dr. Meg Grigal, Institute for Community Inclusion University of Massachusetts Boston)
  • 2020-2022: Updates to AHEAD’s Professional Competencies, Program Standards, and Code of Ethics
    • 2022: AHEAD Professional Competencies (lead researcher: Enjie Hall, University of Toledo)
    • 2021: AHEAD Code of Ethics (lead researcher: Dr. Adam Lalor, Landmark University)
    • 2020: AHEAD Program Standards and Performance Indicators (lead researcher: Dr. Sally Scott, AHEAD)
  • 2020-2021: A year-long study of postsecondary disability professionals’ experiences and responses to the COVID Pandemic (lead researcher: Dr. Katherine Aquino, St. Johns University)
    • COVID-19 Transitions: Higher Education Professionals’ Perspectives on Access Barriers, Services, and Solutions for Students with Disabilities (August, 2020) (Word Doc Download).
    • Wave 2 report: An Update on Access, Barriers, and Supports Nine Months into the Pandemic (April, 2021)(download in Word or PDF)
    • Wave 3 report: Interviews with Disability Resource Professionals, (June, 2021)
  • 2020: Program Evaluation and Review Practices of Disability Resource Professionals
  • 2019: ADA Coordinators: A Report on Campus Structures and Roles
  • 2017: Disability Resource Professionals and their Individual Work with Students.

Sharing Evidence-Based Practices

The Information Services Portal provides professional resources for understanding, using, and applying research and data in campus-based disability resource and affiliated offices. The portal includes a growing repository of resources including models and samples of exemplary data-based practices generated by the membership.

Back to top

Research Priorities for the Field

A list of research priorities for the field of postsecondary disability was established in 2019 with the approval of the AHEAD Board of Directors. Research priorities will be reviewed and updated on an organic basis to allow for emerging issues and changing information needs in the field.

Back to top

To Access Reports