The University fosters an inclusive approach to meeting the needs of disabled students. Responsibility does not lie with one individual or department. Students are given every opportunity to actively take part and achieve at University. A joined-up approach supporting their requirements is encouraged.
Staff within the Disability & Wellbeing Service have disability equality and inclusion knowledge. Yet students with disabilities spend most of their time within academic departments. To ensure these students' needs are being met, there must be knowledge of departmental procedures, teaching, and assessment methods. This is where the role of the Departmental Disability Contact (DDC) is key.
The DDC is the first point of contact for disability-related matters within departments. They can work with staff and students to ensure that the needs of disabled students are met. And that an inclusive learning and teaching environment is developed.
Key responsibilities include:
- being a point of contact for disabled students within the Department/Subject
- liaising with the Disability Service in helping to identify and meet the needs of disabled students in the Department/Subject
- encouraging disability disclosure and responding appropriately
- in liaison with the Disability Service, acting as a source of information and advice for colleagues on matters relating to disabled students
- having an awareness and understanding of the University’s policies, practices, committees and networks and how they impact on disabled students
- having an awareness and understanding of the rights of disabled students under the Equality Act 2010
- paying due regard to legislative matters pertaining to disabled students’ disclosure of needs and of students right to confidentiality
- helping the Department/Subject reflect on how accessible its course information, curricula, teaching methods and assessment procedures are to disabled students and in turn to help develop a departmental approach to inclusiveness
- promoting disability awareness and inclusive practice within the Department/Subject
- encouraging effective use of the Disabled Students Requirements System within the department**
- attending relevant training as stipulated by the Disability Service
The DDC is not expected to be an expert on disability equality and inclusion. Staff within the Disability & Wellbeing Service have the knowledge and expertise to advise on this. What the DDC brings to the role is knowledge and understanding of their department. This joined-up approach ensures that disabled students’ needs are assessed, monitored, and met by the University.
Disabled students requirements system (hosted on PEGASUS)
This system is used to publish the adjustment reports of disabled students. Academic staff within the departments then become aware of the recommended adjustments for teaching and exams.
The DDC is not expected to act as postmaster for the Disabled Students Requirements System on PEGASUS. That is, they're not expected to circulate requirement reports. Instead, they're expected to encourage the effective use of systems within the department. They are expected to advise new teaching staff of their responsibility to use the system.
All DDC’s should have basic background knowledge of:
- the definition of disability from the perspective of the social model of disability
- the Equality Act 2010 and its implications for education
- relevant departmental procedures, as well as information about course requirements
- confidentiality and of the correct procedures for handling information regarding an individual’s disability
- the procedures for arranging special exam adjustments
- the range of reasonable adjustments for learning and teaching that may be required within their department
- the support and resources available within the University as a whole and a detailed understanding of the individual departmental procedures