This years ATEND honorary life membership nominations, Sondra Wibberley and Anna Mungovan, were made by Trevor Allan (2014 ATEND Life Member) . Both nominations were unanimously endorsed by the ATEND National Committee. The honorary life membership is reserved as an honour to be bestowed by ATEND in recognition of an individual’s outstanding contribution to the objects of ATEND.
Sondra is one of the pioneers of disability services in higher education. She has spent over 25 years as a Disability Adviser at Macquarie University and has been actively involved in various Disability Practitioner Organisations such as UDAN, TEDCA, DEAN and ATEND. She helped establish TEDCA and its successor ATEND and her contributions to these organisations were consistent and substantial, often taking executive roles and other responsibilities. She has been actively involved in the Roundtable for People with Vision Impairments and Print Disabilities for many years, and has maintained her involvement post retirement.
Sondra's commitment to the cause of inclusion and access for people with disabilities has been strong, consistent and unwavering. She has been a strong advocate for individuals, but also for inclusive practice, improved policy and procedures and professional development for practitioners. She has never been reluctant to speak out in the cause of inclusion and access, being prepared to ruffle as many feathers as necessary to achieve her goals on behalf of all people with disability, but especially those with a vision impairment or print disability.
A passionate believer in the rights of all people with disabilities to be able to pursue their goals and aspirations, without unnecessary disadvantage, especially in education, has been the hallmark of her long career. At times she could appear demanding and uncompromising, but this was the result of her determination to foster change and awareness so that accessibility and inclusion became a fundamental part of the way universities think and function.
She started working in the field at a time when every adjustment was a battle to be fought, every system and process was a minefield of inaccessibility and barriers and disability access was a grudging afterthought at best. Sondra has been an agent of changing those attitudes, systems, processes and policies to where we are today. Even though the journey to universal accessibility is not yet complete, we have come a long way, largely due to the drive, passion, commitment, determination and sheer hard work of people like Sondra Wibberley.
Anna Mungovan has had a substantial impact on disability and education for well over 20 years. As one of the original RDLOs, Anna was instrumental in the extension of the program from its original three-year concept to its eventual evolution into the current NDCO program. She was the Program Coordinator and lead author for the original Opening All Options Learning Disability Resource, the original Education to Employment Package and the Disclosure: It's Your Choice disclosure resource. All of which were so significant and successful that they have been updated over the years and are still being used today. They would not have happened without Anna and it is a mark of the quality of her work and her commitment to the sustainability of these resources that they are still being used today.
Anna was also very actively involved in the development of practitioner resources and associations. She was a member of the steering committee to establish the DEAN Inc. Professional association in NSW and the ACT and served on the Management Committee for many years, holding a number of executive positions. She was integral to the establishment and implementation of the DEAN Professional Development Program and administered the NSW Disability List for many years.
She was a member of the Advisory Committee to establish the Australian Learning Disability Association. She initiated and ran the Setting Directions Seminars to assist school students with a disability successfully transition from school to further education or employment. She wrote a highly regarded resource on mental illness for the Australian Human Rights Commission and has been a passionate and tireless advocate for people with disabilities for over 25 years.
Anna has presented papers at many Pathways and other conferences and has always been a very strong advocate for the value of professional development for disability practitioners and the importance of a professional association such as ATEND.
Anna has been working recently as a Disability Teacher Consultant with New South Wales TAFE and has continued to be a determined, passionate and hard-working advocate for access and inclusion for people with a disability.
Anna's contribution to our sector has been very significant and has been an agent for substantial change, growth and development over many years. The impact of her work cannot be underestimated and is still being felt today. Many of the resources relied on for so many people today began with Anna and would not exist without her. She has influenced professional practice and training and has been an agent for the acceptance of access and inclusion for people with disabilities among academics, administrators and the wider community.
I would like to nominate Jenny Shaw as life member of ATEND. Jenny had an illustrious career in disability and higher education and made a tremendous contribution to the field. Her work though the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s has had a profound impact at an individual, institutional, sector, policy and practitioner level. Jenny, together with colleagues Rita Jennings and Terri Patterson, ran the first Pathways Conference at Deakin University in Geelong in 1991, which has now emerged as the biennial centrepiece for professional development and networking for Australian tertiary education disability practitioners.
Upholding the principal of ‘nothing about us without us’ the first Pathways ensured the active participation of students with disability, an organising principle that has been retained for all other Pathways conferences. At this Pathways event, the Australian Tertiary Education Disability Council was formed, and this served as the pre-cursor to ATEND. Jenny worked at disability services of Deakin University, RMIT University and La Trobe University, and for a time was a Regional Disability Liaison Officer. Jenny combined a strong commitment to the success of individual students, grounded in a philosophy of independence and academic excellence, with an international outlook.
Her strategic commitments and influence of disability in higher education were aligned with strong international connections. In 1989 Jenny was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study the facilities and support services for tertiary students with disabilities in the United States of America and United Kingdom USA, UK. The contacts and relationships formed through this study informed the program of the first Pathway’s conference. Jenny’s study brought an international reference point to the event and her practice, and catalysed a longer term transfer of ideas, policies, practices and objectives that have supported the uninterrupted growth in the numbers and proportion of students with disabilities in higher education since data was first collected.
When the Pathways conference returned to Melbourne in 2008, following its national tour, Jenny was again part of the organising committee, and was instrumental in securing the participation of internationally renowned scholars and graduates with disability in the event. Jenny undertook a reciprocal exchange with the manager of disability services at McGill University, Canada, aimed at sharing international experience and gaining a better understanding of north American experiences with learning disabilities. These experiences influenced Jenny’s role in progressing policy and practice around dyslexia and learning disabilities.
Jenny served as President of the Australian Learning Disabilities Association, which led to her representation on the Dyslexia Working Group which provided commissioned advice to Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services in 2010. The Australian higher education sector and students and graduates with disabilities owe Jenny a debt of gratitude for her longstanding and most effective of contributions, and she would be a worthy recipient of ATEND life membership.
I would like to nominate Judy Hartley for life membership of ATEND. Awards of this type are often bestowed at or following retirement in recognition of a career of service and impact. Judy’s career and contribution to disability and higher education warrant recognition at a time in her career where there is much more that can and will be achieved.
Judy has been a stalwart of disability in higher education since it can be considered a legitimate field in its own right. She has attended 10 of the 12 Pathways conferences, and been involved in the organisation of the two Brisbane based events. Judy has been at the forefront of innovation in service delivery for many years, with Griffiths continued leadership in disability service provision a function of her leadership, dedication and impact.
Perhaps most relevant to her nomination is her focus on sustainable structures, systems and processes that underpin and facilitate the participation of students with disabilities in higher education. Judy was involved in the development of a Code of Practice for Australian Tertiary Institutions (1998) which articulate the principles and guidelines for planning and delivery of services to students with disabilities across the tertiary education sector. This influential work highlights Judy’s strategic capacity to set high level objectives, and cultivate mechanisms (such as documenting exemplars of institutional good practice) that facilitate progress towards these objectives.
Perhaps as important, Judy was responsible for assisting the transition of the Tertiary Education Disability Council of Australia (Inc) (TEDCA) to the Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability (ATEND). This transition provided a more sustainable organisational structure to progress objectives around the successful participation of students with disabilities in Australian tertiary education, and the challenges of orchestrating this transition cannot be overstated.
Judy’s work with ATEND, as with her career, has been pragmatically focused on getting the best structures in place to facilitate progress towards improved participation for students with disabilities without calling attention to herself or her influence. It’s time to call Judy out on this, and recognise the outstanding contributions she has made for Australian higher education and the participation of students with disabilities through life membership of the organisation for which she was instrumental in establishing.
ATEND took the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge one of our great leaders and our dear friend, Trevor Allen at this Pathways 12 conference held in Fremantle WA, 2014. The presentation of the Honorary Life member was awarded in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sector.
Julie Harrison, Manager of Access and Participation at ANU presented the award on the behalf of the sector and highlighted many of Trevor’s great achievements. Julie finished with the above quote which she felt summed up Trevor's work.
Julie was also able to contact a couple of past students, ANU Alumni to seek feed-back on the work and support Trevor gave to them as students.
“Trevor is a true Australian legend, because he made it possible for me and many others to have a “fair go”, that very Aussie of concepts, without which my life wouldn’t have been the same…. I'm sure I speak on behalf of many other ANU students, Trevor, you made a difference to our lives.”
Rishi Gulati – ANU Alumni
“Trevor was one of these key individuals, he had the ability to make me feel comfortable with who I am and understand the challenges that I faced, as well as provide practical solutions to these challenges… I am now in a position to have a role in society, and globally on the issue of disability. I am comfortable with who I am and the impact I can make.”
Huy Nguyen ANU Alumni