AccessAbilty Services is a support service for JCU students who identify with temporary or permanent disability, injury, illness or health condition. The Inclusive Practice Acknowledgement Award (IPAA) has been part of JCU’s AccessAbility Services since 2000. Recipients of the IPAA are recognised for their efforts to be flexible, consultative, proactive and/or innovative.
In 2010, students registered with AccessAbility Services nominated Dr Deborah Graham for providing additional support. In this personal account, the first time IPAA recipient reflects on her teaching practice that shows strong commitment to inclusive teaching practice.
Dr Deborah Graham
Associate Professor and Head of Department Psychology
This nomination is an excellent reminder that there is great diversity among the student body and that it is important to be aware of any individual differences that may potentially disadvantage a student. It also reinforces the importance of AccessAbility Services at JCU and the role the services play in providing an equal opportunity for all students. On a personal level, it is uplifting to receive a nomination. While we all strive to provide a good university experience for students, to know that you have assisted a student in even a small way is rewarding.
I attempt to be flexible in order to meet special needs or requirements. Sometimes it can also be important to be proactive and anticipate future barriers that may arise for a student. Not all students will let you know that they have issues that may affect their performance. It can be worthwhile contacting students if they haven’t handed in a piece of work to ask them if there are any extenuating circumstances. This follow up can result in the discovery of quite severe barriers that can then be addressed.