Higher Education

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 359–379 | Cite as

Equitable representation of deaf people in mainstream academia: Why not?

  • Kathryn WoodcockEmail author
  • Meg J. Rohan
  • Linda Campbell


Approximately 5% of people in most countries have deafness or significant hearing loss. This significant minority is underrepresented in mainstream universities across the world. Background information about deafness, relevant technology and its drawbacks, and the use of interpreters are discussed. The barriers to equitable representation of qualified Deaf academics in university settings are reviewed. The experiences of three Deaf academics who teach in mainstream universities are discussed, and suggestions for resolution are offered. Examples are cited for teaching, research and service, the threefold duties of the successful academic. Continuing access difficulties mean that only a few deaf graduates now consider doctoral study; cost and the perception of cost, as well as negative attitudes and lack of knowledge may mean that the few successful graduates have difficulties gaining employment; successful tenure and promotion prospects may also be hindered for the same reasons. We also provide recommendations how barriers for successful Deaf academics can be removed or mitigated.


academia accommodation deaf equity hard-of-hearing university 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Woodcock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meg J. Rohan
    • 2
  • Linda Campbell
    • 3
  1. 1.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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