Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




cross-functional collaboration, conflict resolution, distributed leadership, college, accessibility services, students with disabilities


Failing to provide access to students with disabilities can have far-reaching consequences for the student, society and the higher education organization (HEO). Facilitating access is a particularly sensitive task in the context of college education, considering the reliance of college faculty on practical methods of instruction and the complex needs of academically at-risk students enrolled at these organizations. In such a setting, faculty and accessibility services need to communicate, consult and collaborate seamlessly in order to provide support and ensure access for this student population. The problem of practice addressed here concerns overcoming barriers to cross-functional collaboration between faculty and accessibility services at my college which delay accommodation-related decision making and negatively impact students with disabilities. Following Kotter’s (1996) eight step model for change and principles of distributed and servant leadership, this organizational improvement plan proposes a conflict-resolution-focused solution in the form of mediation committees to address the disputes among faculty, accessibility services and students. Furthermore, tools from the social cognitive theory are used to facilitate organizational learning around principles of accessibility and accommodation planning (Bandura, 2000). It is important to note that the challenges around access to higher education resulted by tensions between faculty and accessibility services is not unique to this college (Sokal, 2016). Therefore, the work at hand has the capacity to improve the practices of other HEOs with similar organizational structures.