Book Talk by Autumn Wilke, Assistant Dean for Disability Resources

November 09, 2017
Autumn Wilke, Assistant Dean for Disability Resources
Autumn Wilke, Assistant Dean for Disability Resources at Grinnell College, will speak about the book Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach. Wilke collaborated on the book with three other scholars of education and social justice.

The book talk is free and open to the public. It will begin at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, November 16th, in Burling Library lounge, 1111 Sixth Ave., Grinnell. Copies of Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach will be available for purchase.

Rauscher and McClintock (1997) explained that throughout history ableism has functioned to

Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach
“create an environment that is often hostile to those whose physical, emotional, cognitive, or sensory abilities fall outside the scope of what is currently defined as socially acceptable” (p. 198). Campbell (2009) added that ableism equates able-bodiedness with normalcy and by contrast, disability is viewed as abnormal, dependent, and deficient. Rather than attempting to “fix” people with disabilities so that they will “fit” into an ableist society, advocates of the social justice model promote addressing the oppressive culture so that all individuals are accepted as they are (Castañeda & Peters, 2000; Nocella, 2009).  A social justice approach explicitly recognizes and challenges the ableism present in society.  A social justice approach enables educators and practitioners in higher education to contribute in an inclusive, respectful, and comprehensive manner to ensure that all students feel that they are welcomed and valued on campus (Aune, 2000; Kalivoda & Totty, 2003).  On November 16, Autumn will discuss systemic manifestations of ableism present on college campuses, impacts on disability identity development, and lessons learned through the writing of Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach. 


Autumn K. Wilke completed her M.Ed. in Higher Education with an emphasis on social justice from Iowa State University and a Master’s certificate in Postsecondary Disability Services from University of Connecticut. Autumn is the co-author of the book, Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Perspective and currently works as the assistant dean for disability resources at Grinnell College. Autumn was the primary author on the chapter "Disability Identity Development and Multiple Aspects of Identity" and is currently the lead investigator on a grant funded research project on identity development and engagement factors for students with disabilities.