Masters Thesis

Perceptions and Experiences of Faculty in Higher Education with Academic Adjustments Following Concussion

Concussion symptoms may affect a student’s activity and productivity. Without proper management, symptoms can be exacerbated, lead to a prolonged recovery, and may ultimately affect their academic performance. Faculty play a key role in supporting a student’s return-to-school (RTS) following concussion. However, faculty perceptions of concussions have not been examined in higher education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions and experiences of faculty in higher education regarding concussion and its management process. Two hundred twenty-three faculty participated in an online survey and nine completed an in-person interview to further explore their perceptions. Descriptive statistics and Mann Whitney U tests were utilized to analyze survey data. An inductive qualitative approach was used to analyze interview data. Faculty identified cognitive and physical symptoms that may affect a student’s RTS, and less often identified emotional and sleep changes. Faculty with prior concussion education believed it was more important to decrease cognitive activities and understand the RTS process than their counterparts. However, no differences were found between faculty who had personally sustained a concussion compared to their counterparts. Faculty described issues students may encounter with RTS (e.g., difficulty processing information and environmental issues) and lack of clarity regarding the mechanisms for students to obtain support on campus. These findings support the need for ongoing dialogue on the process for students to obtain academic support following concussion.

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