If you are a staff member and interested in becoming a Departmental Disability Contact, or would like to express an interest in this role please contact Disability Information & Support.

Role of a Departmental Disability Contact

The University has a network of Disability Contacts within departments, colleges and services. Departmental Disability Contacts do not need to have specific training in the area of disability. The most important attributes are being open, friendly and having an interest in advocating for an equitable learning environment.

The vision of Disability Information and Support is to work in partnership to promote an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity, promotes comprehensive academic support, and empowers individuals with impairments to achieve their full potential. We appreciate that it is due to the commitment of people, like the Departmental Disability Contacts, that we are able to foster pathways for students with impairments and continue to celebrate the diversity of the university community.

Departmental Disability Contacts provide an important link between students with permanent, recurring or temporary impairments, their department and Disability Information & Support. This is a valued role and we appreciate that Departmental Disability Contacts contribute to the success of students with impairments studying at the University of Otago.

The role is varied and includes:

  • Providing guidance and support to students who have impairments.
  • Advising students of the assistance Disability Information & Support may be able to provide.
  • Identifying other University services that may be able to offer assistance.
  • Advocating for an inclusive environment that is responsive and accessible for all students.
  • Facilitating the inclusion of disability related information, for example, in department handbooks, course books and the website.
  • Promoting disability awareness courses to other staff.
  • Sharing the skills you have learned, as a Departmental Disability Contact, with other staff.
  • Providing an empathetic and caring environment that gives students the confidence to request help.
  • Developing and fostering a reciprocal relationship with staff at Disability Information and Support.
  • Attending, where possible, training sessions offered by Disability Information & Support.

This role can also be recognised in the Performance Development Review process and is directly related to the PDR Competency: Service to Customers (customers are anyone receiving or benefiting from your work. This may include students, clients, other staff or managers), therefore it provides an additional opportunity for recognition and professional development.

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