Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: An Emerging Model for Cross-Team Collaboration: Disability and Student Learning at the University of Tasmania

Amelia Dowe, Doug McGinn, Debbie Hindle, Carol Devereaux and Alexis Smith, University of Tasmania

Models of student support are offered in a variety of configurations across the Australian tertiary sector. For example, academic skills development might be offered through individual faculties, through the library, or a central unit. Other support areas such as Disability and Accessibility, Counselling, Student Advice and Course or Program information are likewise offered in a range of institutional locations and collocations. Although the nature of the work does not fundamentally change, these models do affect internal working relationships. Outcomes for students are often reliant on the effectiveness of these channels and processes, so it is essential that they are developed and refined over time.

This presentation will share our progress towards a model of integrated student support between the Disability and Student Learning areas at the University of Tasmania over the past two years. Our starting point was an ad hoc approach in response to immediate problems. Over time, we have worked towards improving our service through a proactive approach to common issues, knowledge sharing and capacity building within and between teams. In these times of constrained resourcing, we aim to do so by tapping into existing resources and skillsets within the university to meet student needs. We will share a student’s perspective on this process, using a case study on supporting a student with a Specific Learning Disability in their studies. We would also like to use this as an opportunity to hear about similar collaborations in other institutions, and to share thoughts about how we might continue to work towards successful cross-team collaborations in the context of dwindling resourcing in Higher Education.


Amelia Dowe: Amelia is a Student Learning Advisor at the University of Tasmania. She has a background in Applied Linguistics and language education.

Doug McGinn and Carol Devereaux: Doug and Carol are Disability Advisors at the University of Tasmania. Their combined experience in that role spans over two decades.

Debbie Hindle: Debbie has had various roles in the tertiary disability sector. She has worked as an NDCO, Disability Advisor and currently coordinates the University of Tasmania's Specialist Peer Mentoring Program and is an ADCET Project Officer.

Alexis Smith: Alexis is an Accessibility Advisor at the University of Tasmania and works to ensure students have equitable access to educational opportunity.