This 2010 - 2014 plan is UTS's third Disability Action Plan (DAP). It builds on the substantial commitment already made by UTS (since the first plan in 1997) to providing equitable work and study opportunities for people with disabilities. The earlier plans created a solid infrastructure, in terms of services, policies and general awareness that is necessary to enable people with disabilities to have equal access to and full participation in University life.
This third Plan is more of a challenge. Many of the important, but more obvious, steps have been taken and the challenge now is to integrate good practice further into mainstream policies and practices. Responsibility for the success and retention of students with disabilities needs to move beyond specialist support services and be more firmly integrated into learning and teaching structures and practices. Good practices that are currently reliant on individuals need to be properly built into structures and systems and generalised across the organisation to ensure greater consistency in the levels of service provided.
New strategies are needed for those objectives that have proved harder to achieve, such as increasing the employment of staff with disabilities, or for areas that have gained in importance, such as the virtual environment. Actions are needed to support the development of awareness and capacity among all staff in these areas and help foster networks, internally and externally, to increase and share knowledge and resources.
The plan is available in accessible format (1.6 MB, 33 pages).
Development of the Plan
The aim was to build on the considerable achievements of the previous plans, identify the specific next steps for the organisation and tailor the new Plan accordingly. The emphasis was on practical actions that would make a difference and which were linked, where possible, to strategic priorities and mainstream initiatives within the organisation. Accountability for outcomes under the Plan will be located and included with the relevant senior executive members and responsibility for implementation in the operational plans of the relevant areas.
The review of the achievements of the 2003 - 2007 DAP and the development of the 2010 - 2014 DAP drew on material from a number of sources. These included internal audits, reports, surveys and policies internal to UTS and from the Higher Education Sector. This material was supplemented by extensive consultations with key stakeholders, through individual interviews and guided focus groups covering critical issues for the organisation. In total over 60 staff and students were consulted.
The draft Plan underwent an extensive period of consultation with key stakeholder groups across the university and Professor Ross Milbourne, the Vice-Chancellor and President approved the final plan on 12th February 2010. It was consequently publicly launched on 24th March 2010.
The UTS DAP 2010 - 2014 has been developed in compliance with the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA); the associated Disability Standards for Education 2005 and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) Guidelines relating to Students with Disabilities (May 2006) and the Guidelines on Information Access for Students with Print Disabilities (November 2004) have also been taken into account in the preparation of the Plan.
The Plan is guided by the two key principles endorsed by the AVCC:
- That Universities will uphold academic standards such that students graduate with the requisite skills and knowledge associated with the degree conferred.
- That Universities provide students with disabilities with the opportunity to realise their academic and social potential and to participate fully in university life.
The current Plan contains 6 major goals related to the priorities of the UTS Strategic Plan.
UTS strategic objective i) UTS Model of Global Practice - Oriented Learning
Disability Action Plan Goal:
UTS strategic objective iii) Enhance our strong Inclusive University Environment
Disability Action Plan Goals:
- Goal 3 - Provide an inclusive physical environment /accessible facilities
- Goal 4 - Provide an inclusive virtual environment
- Goal 5 - Promote inclusive practices
- Goal 6 - Communication and promotion of the DAP
UTS strategic objective iv) Build the capabilities of our people and processes
Disability Action Plan Goal:
Implementation, monitoring and governance
This 2010 - 2014 Plan will be widely disseminated across the university and made available externally. All relevant UTS Committees will be made aware of the Plan and the key priorities relevant to their areas.
Accountability for the outcomes under the Goals resides with the nominated Deputy Vice-Chancellor and responsibility for the coordination of specific strategies is allocated to the heads of nominated areas (Units, Faculties, Divisions). It is intended that the responsibilities identified in the DAP inform the operational plans of the respective areas. Contributing areas are also identified.
The DAPC has responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the 2010 - 2014 Plan. In line with the recommendations in the Plan the DAPC will update its terms of reference and its working party structure to reflect the new priorities. The DAPC will continue to play a key role in coordinating initiatives across the university, and seek to ensure that relevant strategies from the Plan are aligned with and inform relevant UTS strategic and operational plans.
In its monitoring role the DAPC will maintain contact with the key areas responsible for delivery on agreed outcomes through their representation on the DAPC, and investigate the option of developing a self-review process for key areas of delivery. All areas will be required to report formally to the DAPC on outcomes through a biennial review process.