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University launches new six-year Disability Inclusion Action Plan

24 September 2019
Supporting people with disability to succeed
The University of Sydney has reached an important milestone in inclusion and access for people with disability, with today's launch of its Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019-24 during Disability Inclusion Week.

The Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019-24 strengthens our commitment to protect staff, students and visitors with disability from discrimination and support all members of our community to succeed at the University.

The new six-year plan aligns with our core values of inclusion and diversity, and community expectations that people with disability are included in all areas of public life.

The University of Sydney is recognised as one of Australia’s higher education leaders in disability inclusion, with our previous Disability Action Plan (2013-18) being recognised as an example of best practice and used as a model for the development of the NSW Government’s own plan.

At today’s launch the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence, welcomed the new plan – the fourth of its kind. Several esteemed speakers joined him for the launch, including Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, and Ms Carly Findlay, an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist who regularly writes about disability issues.

Dr Spence called for a united effort to implement the plan's objectives.

“If we are to be a university in which the brightest researchers and the most promising students can thrive and realise their full potential, we must ensure that we provide a learning and working environment which is inclusive and accessible to all our students, staff and visitors,” Dr Spence said.

“I welcome the University’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019–24 and urge the whole University community to commit to working towards the achievement of its objectives.”

My disability services officer provided me with empathy and incredible support. Because of my new academic plan, I feel that I can get the most out of my studies while not being completely overwhelmed.
International student

The plan builds on the University’s proud track record of progress and achievements in disability inclusion across almost two decades, and supports our aspirations to become an employer and higher education provider of choice.

Thousands of students and staff with disability are actively using the University’s support services. One international student, who asked to remain anonymous, said his “disability services officer provided me with empathy and incredible support. Because of my new academic plan, I feel that I can get the most out of my studies while not being completely overwhelmed.”

Zoe Stawyskyj, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours in Physics) and is now a casual teacher at the University, said she would have had to study part time without the assistance she received from Disability Services.

Zoe, who has a chronic illness, said the new plan’s promotion of the legal requirements that support people with disability were critical for her, because she can “draw on that information to be empowered and know my rights”.

The new plan reflects the experience of staff and students with disability. They contributed substantially to the plan’s creation during an extensive consultation and development process. There are a number of initiatives that will be implemented during the life of the plan, including the following.

  • Implement accessible wayfinding and navigation on our campuses, including technology-driven solutions.
  • Ensure our curriculum demonstrates application of the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
  • Enhance strategic employment of people with disability, including the creation of an employment fund to support hiring managers in recruiting people with a disability.

Find out more about the University’s 2019-24 Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

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