Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: Panel Session: How to drive change through Disability Action plans

Panel Facilitator: Dr Paul Harpur, University of Queensland

Panel Members: Jodie Hoger, Teacher/Consultant for Students who are Blind or Vision Impaired, TAFE NSW, Hemant Kokularupan, Manager Student Success, Kangan Institute, Samantha Tiernan, Manager, Disability & Access, Charles Sturt University and Dagmar Kminiak, Manager, Disability Services, University of Sydney

As the numbers of students with disability in tertiary education continue to grow many tertiary education providers are using their disability action plans to not only improve participation and educational outcomes but also to create a sense of belonging.   And when tertiary providers take this approach, they also improve inclusion for their staff with disability.

This panel will feature staff from TAFE and University sectors who share their experience with developing and implementing Disability Action Plans.


Dr Paul Harpur is an Associate Professor with the University of Queensland Law School, chair’s their Disability Inclusion Group and is a former Fulbright scholar and former Paralympian. He is an academic Fellow with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, an International Distinguished Fellow with the Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, a Non-Executive Director with Help Enterprises Ltd and guide dog user.

Dr Harpur was recognised to receive a 2019 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, as part of the Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT) program. Dr Harpur’s citation is “for outstanding leadership in translating disability strategy into a vision of ability equality and core university business.”. He believes in ability equality strongly and works for a world where we no longer talk about us and them, and instead just about us.

Jodie Hoger has been a Teacher consultant for TAFE NSW for 24 years with a specialisation in blindness and vision impairment. Jodie is passionate about education and vocational pathways for people with disability. Jodie is totally blind and advocates strongly for the rights of staff and students with disability as TAFE NSW works towards inclusion. She has been heavily involved with the development of a TAFE NSW Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP, including being on the TAFE NSW coordination committee over-seeing the project. She has a particular interest in assistive technology and accessible information.

Hemant Kokularupan is the Manager, Student Success at the Bendigo Kangan Institute, playing a key role in ensuring the delivery of an exceptional learning experience for all students. Working across the whole of the Institute, he will lead wrap around support services and initiatives that support the whole student journey, including responsibility for library and learner support services, counselling and welfare services, transition and pathways. Hemant brings over 14 years’ experience in leading marketing, customer experience, operations and other key administration functions in the tertiary education sector.

Samantha Tiernan is the Manager of Disability & Access with Charles Sturt University. Her passion is on ensuring those students with a disability or health condition have the same opportunities as all other students. Before her current role at the university, Samantha has many years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and HR Generalist.

Dagmar Kminiak is the Manger of Disability Services at University of Sydney and is a management professional with a Psychology and Rehabilitation background. Dagmar has over 10 year’s experience in the Disability Services field and extensive experience in implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, programs and policies. Dagmar has directed her employment career into creating change and an inclusive environment for students with disability in the higher education sector.