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19 May 2023

Deakin staff win at the 2023 Accessibility in Action Awards!

Congratulations to all the Deakin staff who have taken home a 2023 Accessibility in Action award! Run by the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET), the Accessibility in Action Awards recognise individuals, project teams and initiatives across the higher education community that have made significant contributions to advancing accessibility and promoting inclusive practices in education and training.

This year the awards were announced at an online event that brought together industry leaders, experts, and advocates to acknowledge and honour the winners and their significant contributions. Awards went to five outstanding individuals and 14 project teams, with four teams receiving a Highly Commended certificate. Deakin was well represented, receiving five awards and one certificate.

The work of Deakin recipients covered a diverse range of accessibility and inclusion work, from increasing inclusive resources like transcripts, captioning and audio description to creating a multi-platform accessibility audit process and toolkit, and embedding open education resources (OER) in a large first-year unit.

These awards and commendations are a testament to Deakin’s commitment to creating a truly inclusive and accessible space for students at Deakin. Explore the winning Deakin projects to learn more.

‘Congratulations to all winners. Your success exemplifies our commitment to creating an inclusive and accessible environment for our students. Deakin’s success in successive years shows the depth of talent in our teams and our widespread support for diversity.’

– Alfred Deakin Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic

Individual winners

Tracy Jennings, Inclusive Resource Developer

Despite a huge increase in students with disability numbers over recent years, Tracy and her small team has remained the same size. Despite this, Tracy has continued to improve process efficiency, meaning despite the increase in requests, students still received an amazing service in a timely manner.

Tracy and a small team of casual staff, working with students and teaching staff, provide inclusive resources in the form of transcription, captioning and audio description for audio-visual content. In Trimester 1, 2023 students requiring Accessible Audio-Visual Materials increased by 34% from the same time last year. Already, in Trimester 1, Tracy has completed 1544 requests (as of 8 May 2023) for Accessible Materials.

Dr Emma Ryan, Lecturer

This award recognises the depths of Dr Emma Ryan’s commitment to accessibility. Dr Ryan has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, doing incredible work in making her unit materials accessible for her students. One such student is a screen reader user who was particularly inspired and empowered through this work. Such kindness, care and dedication to providing an equitable experience for her learners is an ornament to the best aspirations of our University.

Project Team winners


Multi-platform accessibility audit process and toolkit

Danielle Johnson, Manager, Experience Design (Library); Rachael Wilson, Experience Librarian (Library); Matthew Lyons, Senior Officer, Digital Content (Library), Michael Horn, Front-End & Application Developer (Library), Jeshmine Bajracharya Front-End & Application Developer (Library)

Accessibility underpins Deakin Library’s vision of enabling a vibrant, rich and inclusive ideas ecosystem. The Deakin Library Experience Design (ExD) Team took home an award in the Improving Digital Accessibility category for the creation and delivery of a multi-platform accessibility audit process and toolkit. This initiative rolled out across multiple content platforms in 2022 and it being successfully used by the team has used the results to identify, implement and advocate for improvements.


Accessibility Champions project

Mahen Jayawardena, April Bjork, Lisa Foster, Tricia Ong, Karen Lake, Michael Wright, Liza Marsh, Elizabeth Delacretaz, Emily Partington, Francesca Bussey, Ismail Zengin, Mary Ishak, Matthew Griffiths, Pennie White, Rene Hahn, Travis Zimmer, Ambili Sasidharan, Darren Britten

The Accessibility Champions project won for their work in accessibility advocacy, awareness raising and resource development. This work is now enshrined in policy and practice at Deakin through the Everyday Accessibility Framework, a set of simple accessibility practices that the Deakin community. The Accessibility Champions embody a collaborative, ethical and focused way of working that is an inspiration to all who work with them. Each champion contributes to this project in both small and big ways, beyond their regular work commitments, to build a more inclusive Deakin for students and staff.

Foundation Maths program

Staff partners Student Academic and Peer Support Services: Dawn Jones, Manager, Peer Support Services; Kim Jones, Coordinator, Peer Support Services; Tom Petsinis, Coordinator, Peer Support Programs (Maths and Numeracy); and Megan Theodore, Coordinator, Peer Support Programs (Maths and Numeracy)

Student partners: Eliza Osborn and Molly Mckenzie

Mathematics often relies on visual explanations through diagrams, charts, and graphs. Unfortunately, students with disabilities often face disadvantages in understanding these concepts and may choose to avoid courses and careers involving maths.

The Foundation Maths Program won an Accessibility in Action Award for making mathematics more accessible. The program provides alternative methods of instruction and resources to cater to different learning styles, and this inclusive approach not only promotes equal opportunities but fosters a diverse and welcoming learning environment. The Foundation Maths Program aims to boost the knowledge and confidence of students who may have previously felt excluded or held back. All Deakin students can self-register for the Foundation Maths Program via Cloud Deakin.

Highly Commended


An integrated approach to embedding Open Education Resources in a large first year unit

Tricia Wevill, Patricia Corbett, Rachel Lee, Bill Borrie and Trevor Thornton

The SLE103 teaching team provided sector wide leadership by taking an integrated approach to embedding Open Education Resources (OER) in a large first-year unit. The unit has been running for over twenty years and required students to purchase a custom textbook. To support equity of access and inclusive learning design the team worked to adopt OER into the unit to replace the need for students to purchase a textbook. The readings were made available online as accessible downloadable PDFs to ensure learner access.

As a result of this 99% of students reported that the learning resources in the unit helped them to achieve the learning outcomes. The adoption of OER has served as an exemplar to colleagues across the sector and inspired fellow colleagues to take on similar work. Thus, the inclusive approach has had ripple on effects across the university and beyond. The team’s work is an excellent example of addressing accessibility issues and demonstrates a commitment to ensuring an equitable experience for all learners.

Learn more

You can visit the ADCET website to learn more about the other winners of the 2023 Accessibility in Action Awards. You can learn more about accessibility and inclusion on Deakin’s Inclusive Education webpage.

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