Progress and achievements since 2006
From 2010–12 the University reviewed the current level of access provided at the University for people with disabilities, and the Disability Action Plan Development Group played an integral role in this process. The University has focused on improving access and the following is a snapshot of our progress since our last disability action plan 2006–10.
Information and Communications Technology
- In 2009 the Information and Communications Technology Division created an accessibility assessment service to evaluate and review websites, web-based applications and online resources against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- The Marketing and Communications Division has integrated accessibility guidelines into its working practices for web content and web development. This includes: ensuring that the University standard web template meets WCAG guidelines; undertaking staff training in accessibility; conducting accessibility reviews of web projects; hiring specialists to review large projects; and working to improve the Disability Services website.
- Live remote captioning has been in place since 2009 for students with profound deafness.
- The increased use of Lectopia in lecture theatres has reduced the requirements for individual note takers.
- The replacement of the Learning Management System (WebCt) with Blackboard Learn in 2010 has addressed long-standing accessibility issues with University learning systems.
- The establishment of the Assistive Technology Room at Fisher Library has improved access for more than 150 students who require this customised software and hardware.
- The establishment of an Assistive Technology Team in the Information and Communications Technology Division provides support to staff and students with disabilities who use this technology.
- The University has loaned additional hardware and software students through Disability Services, and has used it as an adjustment for examinations.
- The University has established a Disability Consultative Committee and student disability liaison officers.
- The University has improved human resources processes and training of staff through disability awareness training.
- The recently established Laffan Fellowship aims to assist University researchers who have, or have experienced, a significant disability to re-establish or enhance their academic research careers. It provides academic staff with relief from routine teaching and administrative responsibilities, and supports research-only staff with funding to secure technical assistance, for up to two semesters.
Campus Infrastructure and Services
- In 2008 two building and landscape works were completed to improve access to the eastern half of the Camperdown and Darlington campuses. Plans for the project identified that the centre for undergraduate teaching was Eastern Avenue and that the area required modernising to cope with the expected increase in students. The two projects removed barriers to the most densely populated part of the campus for undergraduate students.
- Refurbishments to improve access to the campus through the construction of the Jane Foss Russell Building and the City Rd pedestrian bridge began in 2003 and were completed in 2008.
- In 2010 Campus Infrastructure and Services (CIS) commenced a survey and audit of 170 buildings and campuses to review the projects completed and identify a future masterplan for access – the Accessible Environment Plan. The priority list from the plan forms the basis for access projects CIS is undertaking between 2013 and 2017.
- Refurbishments to the Physics, Edward Ford and Institute buildings began in 2010–11 and included the installation of new lifts, ramps and accessible toilets. They were completed in 2012.
- Refurbishment of the Fisher Library began in 2008 and included new lifts and an upgrade to comply with the current Access to Premises Standards. Access upgrades were completed in 2012.