In 2003 the AUTC funded a consortium of universities to identify strategies for improving outcomes for blind and vision-impaired students in Australian universities through the following methodologies:
- researching key issues (literature review and consultations with students, practitioners and academics)
- documenting innovative strategies for inclusive teaching practice
- identifying effective professional development practices to disseminate good practice in this area
- improving access to practical information and resources
- promoting Australia-wide guidelines and strategies for more effective practice teaching and support for blind and vision-impaired students.
The project report and literature review summarise the research undertaken and provide more information about related work under the auspices of the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee (AVCC) (now known as Universities Australia) and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).
Project Steering Committee
- Professor Denise Kirkpatrick - Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), La Trobe University
- Ms Christine Goodacre - Director, Centre for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Tasmania
- Dr Elizabeth McDonald - Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- Mr John Power - National Policy Officer, Blind Citizens of Australia
- Mr Timothy Hart - President, Australasian Network of Students with Disabilities (ANSWD)
- Ms Leonie Young - Chief Executive Officer, beyondblue: the national depression initiative
- Dr Pat McLean - Director, Equity, Language and Learning Programs, University of Melbourne
- Mr Tony Payne - Manager, Student Services, University of Tasmania
Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Mr Tony Payne, Dr Pat McLean, Ms Christine Goodacre.
In September 2004, the steering committee identified additional priorities for the project and agreed that a proposal would be forwarded to AUTC requesting additional funding to further develop the resource. It was proposed that the team would:
- develop the framework to encompass needs of all students with disabilities
- implement a self-assesment tool and action plan functionality
- provide individualised pathways into the resource for the major users including teachers, practitioners and managers.
Although the AUTC was not able to fund projects in 2005, it made recommendations to the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education for further funding of this project and these recommendations were accepted at the first meeting of the Institute in 2004.
The inaugural project steering committee was chaired by Professor Sue Johnston and the project was managed by Professor Denise Kirkpatrick (Monash), Dr. Pat McLean (Melbourne), Christine Goodacre (Tasmania) and Tony Payne (Tasmania). This resource has built upon a number of earlier projects that are detailed in the project report. The original team appears below:
- Professor Sue Johnston - PVC Teaching & Learning, University of Tasmania
- Professor Ron McCallum - Dean of Law, University of Sydney
- Professor Denise Kirkpatrick - Director, Learning & Teaching, Monash University
- Christine Goodacre - Director, Flexible Education Unit, University of Tasmania
- Dr Pat McLean - Director, Equity, Language & Learning Programs, University of Melbourne
- Maryanne Diamond - Executive Officer, Blind Citizens Australia
- Bronwyn Pearson - Manager Equity Unit, University of New England
- Jane Evans - Chief Executive Officer, National Information Library Service
- Deb Warren - B Psych (Hons) Student, University of New England
- Tony Payne, Manager Student Services, University of Tasmania.