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Disability Practice in the Spotlight

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Keeping VET In the Loop: Rhonda Ebeling is a Head Teacher Disabilities in NSW TAFE North Coast. As someone who has always been committed to supporting students with additional needs, Rhonda initially trained as a teacher of the deaf and has qualifications in Auslan. A move to Canberra back in 1994, was the unexpected catalyst to her tertiary disability practitioner career. She took up a position in a disability support role in the TAFE there, and since then, apart from a teaching role for four years, has worked in this sector. Rhonda has been in her current role since 2009. Read more about Rhonda

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Why My Job is Great: Shelley Odewahn In our sector we are very good at identifying what needs to change, but often don’t have the time or the resources to make it happen. Since 2011, Shelley Odewahn, a Project Officer in Student Access & Inclusion at Southern Cross University (SCU) has been responsible for developing initiatives to address these gaps. The broad scope of her role gives her the freedom to creatively work on strategies to increase the access and participation of people with disability in higher education. “It’s the greatest job in the world” says Shelley. Read more about Shelley 

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STAR Program – University of South AustraliaThe University of South Australia are meeting the needs of students with disability transitioning into, as well as those transitioning out of, their university with the introduction of an innovative new program. Their peer support program - Supporting Transition and Retention (STAR)- provides transition support to new students with disability Read more about the STAR program

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Equipping Students for Life:  As the Lead Vocational Teacher in Student Support Services in Tafe Queensland – Skills Tech for the past seven years Dr Chris Summers has been supporting students with disability to equip them skills for work and life. Read more about Chris

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Creating openness and reflection:  Shannon Kerrigan has been working within Equity & Diversity at La Trobe University for eighteen years. Currently, as the Manager of Equity & Diversity she is responsible for overseeing disability support as well as refugee support, harassment and discrimination complaints.  Read more about Shannon

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A son-inspired journey: Sue Hancock, an Access and Success Officer with the ANU has a great knowledge of transition for students with disability across the education span, as she has worked in primary, secondary and now the tertiary sector. “I know the issues faced within and between each level, and this understanding gives my current work an added edge, and I love to see students across their educational journey”. Read more about Sue

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University of Sydney – Disability Action Plan 2013-2018

Dagmar Kminiak, Manager of Disability Services at the University of Sydney, and Louise Bannerman the DAP Project Implementation Officer share with ADCET the key elements of the success, as well as some of the challenges faced in the development and implementation of their current Disability Action Plan (DAP). Read more about the University of Sydney's Disability Action Plan Project

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On The Campus Beat: Donna-Marie Thompson brings a strong commitment to social justice and advocating for the rights of others to her current position as the Disability Support Coordinator at the Springfield Campus of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Read more about Donna-Marie

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Opening big doors in a big country: Nicky finds her role rewarding and enjoys the opportunity to be able to open doors for students when they think they may be closed. “It’s a job with a can do attitude and if we can’t do it we will find a resolution. However, she also acknowledges that it is not always easy. As the Disability Support Manager, Nicky is often a person’s first point of call before they approach anyone else, so she has to be the listener, she is the thinker, the administrator and coordinator all in one.” Read more about Nicky

Smashing down barriers….gently

Originating from Oxford, a Masters from Glasgow and working in Vietnam for the last nine years gives Carol Witney a wonderful international perspective into access and inclusion. Carol is currently the Disability Practitioner for RMIT at their Vietnam campuses. The Vietnamese RMIT has an enrolment of 6000 students and operates over two campuses, the largest in Ho Chi Minh City, and a smaller one in Hanoi Read more about Carol

Ellen Brackenreg Sharon Kerr of Global Access Project speaks with Ellen Brackenreg of Western Sydney University.

Ellen Brackenreg has held a number of positions at the University and for the past seven years she has served as Director of Student Support and is now Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students). The interview provides an insight into some of the issues being faced by universities today and the response of Western Sydney University in meeting these.  Read more about Ellen

Strength through collaboration: Dallas Dunn. As a Disability Advisor at the University of South Australia Dallas Dunn knows the value of working collaboratively within his institution, with his state colleagues and within the broader Tertiary Education Disability Network. He finds that regular meetings with others is a great way to share knowledge, extend practices and approaches, and generate new ideas.  Read more about Dallas

Quenching a thirst for knowledge every day: Shaun Corcoran. As the Disability Coordinator for Bendigo TAFE, Shaun works across five campuses and multiple correction services in Regional Victoria. It is a very busy job, and he has never known a job where there is so much to learn. “Assume you don’t know anything, everyone is different, their experience is different, and their backgrounds are different”.  Read more about Shaun

Supporting the supporters: Kay Dean. After 35 years of working in the University of Newcastle student services division which included disability support and student equity roles, and for the past fifteen years of that as the NDCO, Kay has seen many times over how education has changed lives. A fact that she also knows first-hand Read more about Kay

Progress through other’s perspectives: Judy Hartley. With an impressive track record of 40 years in education, spanning primary/secondary and special education, VET and university Judy understands the value of different perspectives in achieving good educational outcomes for students with disability. Read more about Judy

Turning obstacles into pathways: Jodie Hoger is highly active in creating opportunities and inspiring confidence in the students and staff she works with to achieve the best possible pathways for students.  Jodie’s ambition at high school was to be a teacher. But when she lost her sight at the age of 16, the Careers Adviser for Visually Handicapped told her:  “Don’t be so stupid, you can’t be a teacher.” So determined to achieve her dream, Jodie became the first blind student at the University of Wollongong, undertaking a psychology degree. She then went on to establish the University’s disability service, running disability awareness training for staff. Read more about Jodie

Making small steps matter in big places: Through twenty years of experience working in the Victorian disability and higher education sector Matt Salas knows that it is the small steps and wins that really matter in achieving better outcomes for students with disability. In 1994 he began working in TAFE and Uni as a casual disability support worker. In 2000 he was offered the then solo DLO role at Holmesglen TAFE, the largest TAFE in Victoria. After overseeing the growth of that service, he moved in 2007 to the largest Uni - Monash. Read more about Matt

Head and shoulder photo of Doug McGinn sitting at his work desk

A Job That Really Adds Up: Doug McGinn duated with a maths degree in 1991 and was aiming for a high-flying, high-paying actuary position. Instead he took up a temporary position of Disability Liaison Officer with the University of Tasmania.  Twenty-three years later Doug continues to work with the University as a Disability Adviser, and has no regrets about staying in a job where the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in peoples’ lives far outweighs an actuary’s pay-packet.  He has seen many times over, how the organisation of appropriate supports and accommodations can be essential life changers for some students.  Read more about Doug.