Book by Mary Lee Vance & LaDonna Bridges
Review by Kimberly Kozubovska
Advisor and Veterans’ Liaison
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Academic advisors work with a number of students with disabilities. While the desire to assist students is ever present, professional development opportunities and adequate literature on the subject often is not. Advising Students with Disabilities: Striving for Universal Success offers a practical, comprehensive guide for both new and experienced academic advisors.
Editors Vance and Bridges present a refreshing perspective, encouraging the formation of collaborative relationships between disability service providers and academic advisors. They successfully debunk the myth that FERPA negates such communication, and they label it instead as crucial. Monograph authors communicate a theme of collaboration, where appropriate, within institutions to help ensure student success.
The numerous case studies, separated by topic within this monograph, prove to be a vital resource for academic advisors. One remarkably unique source of reference information is a well organized chart on psychological disorders that includes related effects on academics and possible accommodations. While it is understood that advisors are not responsible for accommodations, encouraging students to develop self-advocacy skills requires awareness in this area.
The portion of text devoted to returning veterans is timely indeed, as most institutions have students utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The authors have concisely captured the myriad of difficulties student veterans face, traversing even beyond physical and emotional issues to discuss homelessness and other persistent problems often exacerbated by disability. Knowledge of referral resources and community relationships is emphasized.
Editors and authors present a broad view of students with disabilities, encouraging advisors to look beyond disability status to other factors such as racial/ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Many insightful, real life examples demonstrate the value of a holistic approach to student advising.
While advisors may gravitate more toward case studies, of particular interest to administrators will be the section on best practices, complete with contact information and examples of innovative programming. Overall, however, this monograph is explicitly geared toward practical approaches for individual advising, thus making it a highly beneficial read for any advisor seeking greater competence in advising this diverse population of students.
Advising Students with Disabilities: Striving for Universal Success, 2nd ed. (2009). Book by Mary Lee Vance & LaDonna Bridges (eds.). Review by Kimberly Kozubovska. Manhattan, KS: NACADA. 184 pp. $60.00, ISBN # 978-1-935140-19-1