Disability Programme and Action Plan

Towards a Disability Action Plan

During 2021, the Disability Programme will transition to the University of Auckland’s first Disability Action Plan.

The Equity Office Te Ara Tautika is looking at good practice across tertiary institutes and feedback from a recent Student Disability Services student survey to develop objectives and desired outcomes.

Drafting will be a collaborative and iterative process, involving consultation with staff and students across the University. In the meantime, the Disability Programme 2017-2020 will remain in force.

A Network for Staff with Disabilities and Impairments has been formed and will feed into the development of the action plan.

Watch here for further updates, or receive updates directly by registering your email address with Lyn O’Neill, Principal Policy Adviser (Equity): lyn.o’neill@auckland.ac.nz.

Disability Programme 2017-2020

The Equity Office has led collaborative work on the University of Auckland’s Disability Programme (2017-2020).

The programme aimed to:

  • identify and implement a range of initiatives to help ensure the success of students and staff with disabilities 
  • support the University’s commitment to be safe, equitable and inclusive for everyone who studies and works here. Read the University’s Equity Policy and Guidelines. 

Partners have included the Digital Office/Information Technology Services, CLeaR, Property Services and Human Resources. Work was also undertaken with external stakeholders from New Zealand’s disability sector. 

The Disability Programme covered three broad areas:

  • University culture and work/study environment
  • Communications and digital accessibility
  • Physical environment.

Key outcomes from the Disability Programme 2017-2020

While ongoing projects will be carried forward into the Disability Action Plan, key outcomes from the Disability Programme’s workstreams include:

Culture work/study environment - student-impacting workstream

  • Key achievements were: enhanced collection and reporting of data on students with disabilities; undertaking student awareness surveys to help us understand information gaps; launching a partnership with disability employment service Workbridge to provide on-site career advice to University of Auckland students; development of a new Student Disability Services website (getting a large increase in ‘hits’); the publication of inclusive and accessible events information; the development of staff and student profiles; establishing a Student Disability Services service satisfaction mechanism.

Culture work/study environment - staff-impacting workstream

  • Key achievements include: changes to employment application forms to demonstrate more positive acceptance of people with disabilities; increased awareness of capability needs of staff to become disability confident; development of resources which encourage engagement, retention and career development of staff with disabilities; the formation of a Network for staff with disabilities.

Communications and digital accessibility workstream

  • A number of the tasks/actions were very broad and required significant resourcing. Advocacy was undertaken by staff across the University to take these forward, within the constraints of current revenue limitations.
  • Actions concerning inclusive and accessible online teaching and learning have been partially progressed. These have become particularly important, given the move to blended learning accelerated by Covid-19.
  • Developing training material on producing accessible documentation has been partially progressed.
  • Obtaining feedback on the accessibility of course materials, communications and technology have progressed through Victoria Cockle’s research into the impact of Covid on Māori and equity group students, and staff survey and online learning evaluations. This work was not conducted under the Programme – although the Equity Office assisted with the Victoria Cockle research.

Physical environment workstream

  • The critical action/task under this workstream was auditing the campus for its physical accessibility. Whilst this has not yet been completed, agreement, resourcing and funding for this have been obtained.

Find out more about the Disability Programme's governance and structure:

Questions or comments?

Please email Lyn O’Neill, Principal Policy Adviser (Equity): lyn.o’neill@auckland.ac.nz.