Access and awareness

The Equity and Diversity Unit are leading work designed to prevent disability discrimination within our policies and practices, through our Disability Action Plan.

“We recently asked staff who have or have had chronic health conditions, injuries, mental ill-health and/or other ongoing disabilities to share their experiences at Macquarie this year,” said Senior Equity and Diversity Officer Michelle Hayter-Falconer. “The survey attracted an overwhelming response from staff and has provided valuable information for us to assess our progress and plan for the future.”

Survey overview:

  • 60% of respondents believe Macquarie takes reasonable, and effective steps to accommodate the impact of their disability at work
  • 50% commented on flexible work arrangements and manager’s attitude as crucial factors, which work very well in some areas and poorly in others
  • 40% raised the importance of colleagues’ disability awareness and attitudes, including 10% describing highly valuable and supportive relationships with colleagues and supervisors, however 30% cited unhelpful communication, disability awareness and attitudes.

Since the Disability Action Plan was introduced at Macquarie two years ago, we have achieved the following:

  • As of 2014, students with a disability complete their course at a slightly higher rate than their peers without disability
  • PACE developed a sector leading strategy on equal participation of students with disability in professional and community experience placements
  • Increased accessible parking spaces, and more to come
  • 130 staff participated in Disability Awareness Workshops
  • A Mental Health Awareness strategy has commenced implementation
  • Regular meetings of the new Accessible Environments Advisory Group, which addresses physical accessibility on campus.

“Through established partnerships across the University our goal in 2015 is to improve campus accessibility, and improve resources and communications accessibility,” says Michelle. “In partnership with the Learning and Teaching Centre, we will also introduce a staff development workshop and accompanying tools for faculty staff on universal design and inclusive education in Session 1.”

Additional Disability Awareness Workshops will be available next year following their success in 2014. “There is demand for more, and the staff survey reveals the university would benefit from further education in disability competence.”

Learn more about Macquarie’s Disability Action Plan.

Contact Michelle Hayter-Falconer ( to register for a Disability Awareness Workshop in 2015, and/or express interest in the Session 1 Universal Design in Learning and Teaching workshop.