Advice for teaching staff

An active approach to equity and disability is central to an inclusive learning environment. As a staff member, you play an important role in creating a supportive space for students.

Guides for academics written by students with disabilities

These practical support guides written by students with disabilities from the University of Melbourne are designed to provide guidance for staff.

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Learning modules for educators on enhancing wellbeing

Online resources for academic teachers to advance awareness of student mental health issues and of curriculum and pedagogical approaches that can support mental wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment. Developed as part of an OLT funded project led by the CSHE at the University of Melbourne.

View modules

Training and advice for staff on mental health and wellbeing

The University's Counselling and Psychological Services provides services to staff, including consultancy, advocacy, faculty liaison, training in people skills, tailored workshops and mental health training

View training

Frequently asked questions

There are times when you might need advice about how to approach equity and disability with students. Please see below for some common questions raised by teaching staff or visit the Staff Hub for further information and contact details.

  • One of my students needs Special Consideration. Do they register with Student Equity and Disability Support?

    Students can either register for Special Consideration (ongoing support) or apply for Special Consideration (unexpected circumstances).

    1. Special Consideration (ongoing support) is available via a registration and interview process for students who require support where the duration of impact is six weeks or more. They may require study adjustments due to a chronic or permanent health condition, official or elite commitments or for religious or cultural observance.
    2. Special Consideration (unexpected circumstances) is an online application process for all students with unexpected circumstances such as a sudden illness or bereavement (even if they are already registered for ongoing support). All students have the right to apply during the course of their studies.

    Students should only consider Special Consideration if their circumstances cannot be supported with an extension. Your department can guide you on procedures for offering extensions to your students.

  • How do I discuss equity and disability with my students?

    Some students will openly discuss their situations with you, while others might not feel comfortable having a conversation about it. We recommend a group-based approach to providing support information. Examples include:

    • Start early. At the beginning of semester, make a general announcement to all students about services and support. You can also refer them to the Student Handbook.
    • Handouts. Include support information and contact details with class handouts. You can contact your faculty or Student Equity and Disability Support for guidance or suggestions.
    • Utilise technology. Use LMS to make a general announcement about support services and include this information in your welcome announcement.

    It’s important to do everything you can to make students feel comfortable about raising an issue. Students may need to approach you to request extensions or study adjustments, so they need to be confident discussing their concerns with you.

  • Can I approach a student directly to discuss equity and disability?

    In most situations it’s best to let the student approach you and provide general support information to the whole class instead. However, if you’re confident that a student is comfortable with having a discussion you can consider approaching them discreetly. You can ask if they have any special requirements and ensure that they are familiar with our services. If not, you can provide a referral or contact us for further information.

  • How do I find a list of registered students enrolled in my subjects?

    If a student is registered and they have an Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP), this information appears on your class list.

    Student Equity and Disability Support staff can inform you if an AAP exists, but we can't share information about the content. Always remember that students aren't required to discuss their personal circumstances and they are legally entitled to their privacy if they choose not to share information with you.

  • One of my students has an Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP). What do I need to do?

    Remember that students are legally entitled to their privacy and aren't required to discuss their circumstances with you. However, when students register with Student Equity and Disability Support they are encouraged to let their lecturers know about their AAP and in most circumstances they will choose to approach you.

    The AAP provides information about a student's condition, its impact and the types of adjustments and support recommended. You don't need to take any immediate action other than being mindful of recommendations and maintaining an awareness of the student's needs. A student may also send you an AAP as supporting documentation when requesting a specific adjustment, such as an extension to an assignment or to explain an absence.

  • A student's AAP adjustment is not appropriate for my assessment task.

    Study adjustments exist to ensure student equity. If you consider an AAP adjustment not appropriate or reasonable for a particular assessment task, you should discuss alternative recommendations directly with the student.

    Academic integrity is central to the University's teaching, learning, and disability-related objectives. Students should never experience disadvantage or advantage due to study adjustments.

  • I am concerned about a student.

    If you are concerned about the behaviour or mental health of one of your students, the University provides confidential advice and referral for staff. You may seek advice from Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or refer concerning behaviours to the Safer Communities team.

  • How do I refer a student?

    If a student communicates that they require ongoing support, it’s important to refer them to a Student Equity Adviser to discuss their circumstances and support options.

    You can make a referral by directing students to Student Equity and Disability Support or provide them with our contact details.

  • Where can I access policy information for Student Equity and Disability Support?

    Staff can visit our privacy, policy and legislation page to learn more about student privacy, government legislation and the University policies that underline our practices and procedures.

If you have further questions, please visit the Staff Hub for information and contact details.