Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability
News item

Two new Life Members for ATEND announced

The ATEND committee are excited to announce that we have awarded Jenny Shaw and Judy Hartley with Life Membership of ATEND. 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. Matt Brett, Manager, Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University nominated both Jenny and Judy for this award and the ATEND Committee unanimously endorsed this nomination.

Jenny Shaw

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 ATTEND. 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.


Judy Hartley

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.