image preview

Creation Date



The current higher education environment is plagued with declining enrollment (Eide, 2018) and shrinking budgets (Doyle, 2020) while historically under-represented and under-served students, including those with intellectual disabilities (ID) (Thoma, et al., 2011), have traditionally experienced limited access to higher education (Thelin, 2011). The purpose of this study was to research the institutional impact of the BUILD program, one university’s effort to increase access to and the effectiveness of higher education for all students, including those with ID, while simultaneously expanding the prospective student enrollment pool. Through a qualitative case study analysis, this research explored and evaluated the implementation and impact of integrating the BUILD program at the university. The findings indicate that as students in BUILD integrate and succeed within the campus space, traditional students, faculty, and staff are changing from their interactions with students with ID. The BUILD program impacted and continues to impact the community member experience and identity development, organizational policy and systems, and culture and subcultures of the university. Additionally, this study explored the pathways to improving the inclusivity of university systems as this mid-sized university meets the challenges of offering an integrated residential college experience to students with ID. The findings of this research project, the implications of the BUILD program, and the experience and outcomes of these students with ID are critical to inclusiveness in postsecondary educational understanding, policy, and practice. This study is part of a broader research project that includes a phenomenological study of BUILD student experiences (Lindell et al., 2021) and longitudinal data being collected on the self-determination and quality-of-life outcomes of BUILD graduates (in progress).