Building relationships, sharing resources, and opening opportunities: A STEM learning community builds social capital for students with disabilities

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012

Publication Title

Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability


This article describes a learning community designed for university students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors at the University of Southern Maine. The Learning Community (LC) seminar is a credit-bearing class and part of a pipeline of supports and services for high school and college students with disabilities. The current study used a mixed-methods research design to explore the LC from the students’ perspective in order to understand what they gained from the course. Analysis revealed that students gained knowledge, skills, access to resources, and social support, all of which are important facets of social capital. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.


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