Doctor of Education

My formal educational journey at the University of Calgary was completed on November 12th, 2020 when I passed my final defence for the doctorate of education in leadership, policy, and governance in a post-secondary context. The purpose of my research was to explore how Canadian higher education leaders, faculty members, and professional staff can enhance services and outcomes for Autistic students. The study was situated within the pragmatic paradigm and employed a multilevel, sequential, mixed method design. The mixed methods approach included a total of 111 responses, namely, online questionnaires (n=74) and synchronous or asynchronous, semi-structured interviews (n=37). The sample included a total of 79 participants across four stakeholder groups: university middle level leaders (n=23), faculty members (including two who were themselves Autistic, n=16), professional staff members working with Autistic students in offices such as accessibility services, equity and inclusion services, human rights, or student advocacy (n=10), and Autistic students or individuals who had experienced university studies (n=30).

I am grateful to my talented supervisors Dr. Shelleyann Scott & Dr. Don Scott and to my family for the support, love, and wisdom that buoyed me throughout the journey. As a doctor, I continue my research journey working with Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch and our 16 cross-institutional collaborators studying autism & UD Training for faculty ( As a speaker and subject-matter-expert, I continue to provide insights into policies and practices at higher education institutions that affect Autistic students and I continue to provide Universal Design training for faculty members of colleges and universities around the world.

Published by TC Waisman

Since 1998, TC has worked with leaders in large organizations to enhance their leadership capabilities and make consequential changes to their leadership practice. Coaching and training leaders for over 20 years, TC has learned to support her clients’ development using organizational best practices and evidence-based research. TC is an ICF certified coach, she holds a Master’s degree in Leadership & Training, and she is currently undertaking her doctoral degree in leadership in a post-secondary context. Inspired by her late autism diagnosis at 48 years old, her research focuses on how higher education leaders can enhance services and outcomes for autistic students in higher learning. Since beginning her research two years ago, TC has co-founded a not-for-profit society for neurodiverse individuals, spoken on autism related topics, published an academic literature review on autism and the implications for higher learning, and was appointed an editorial board member of the new scientific journal Autism in Adulthood. TC is of Indigenous Fijian and Nepalese origin. She moved to Vancouver in 1976 where she currently lives with Dean her partner of 30 years. TC is a proud mother to her fiercely funny 23-year-old daughter Sunshine and the author of the book 75 Traits of Great Leaders. TC is on target to complete her doctoral degree in 2020.

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