The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stevenson, Joan C.

Second Advisor

Boxberger, Daniel L., 1950-

Third Advisor

Boland, Elizabeth


Since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 the participation rate of students with physical impairments in higher education has remained static or declined. Though a number of potential issues have been identified most research tends to focus on classrooms, building interiors, and technology rather than exterior landscapes and fiscal policies that treat all students the same way. Most studies have also lacked theoretical rigor, relying instead on models of disability and statistics to explain their data, rather than on an extensive body of community based, multidisciplinary studies employing urban theories of space and place. Using space and place theory as a template and critical discourse analysis to examine data collected from two comparable mid-sized Washington State public universities the author has attempted to expose some of the underlying dominant and minority discourses concerning exterior barriers to inclusion for persons with physical impairments in higher education by placing these issues in historical context while fully encasing them within urban anthropology and contemporary urban studies of architecture, geography, sociology, and disability.




Western Washington University--Buildings--Barrier-free design, Eastern Washington University--Buildings--Barrier-free design, College students with disabilities--Washington (State), Barrier-free design--Washington (State)


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Western Washington University; Eastern Washington University

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State)


masters theses




Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Included in

Anthropology Commons