RMIT named number one for accessibility and inclusion

RMIT named number one for accessibility and inclusion

RMIT has been recognised today as the Top Performer for Accessibility and Inclusion by the Australian Network on Disability (AND) on the 2019-2020 Access and Inclusion Index.

The University placed first out of 23 participating organisations – up from fourth place in 2019 and fifth in 2018 – on the rigorous national benchmarking tool, used to measure and rank organisations by accessibility for people with disability in physical, technological and cultural environments. 

RMIT is a silver member of the AND, a national, membership based, for-purpose organisation that supports organisations to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.

L-R: Organisational Development Senior Practice Lead – Diversity, Amy Love, Dionne Higgins, Associate Director Global Experiences Sam Baillie, Associate Director Student Diversity and Inclusion, Lara Rafferty, and Allison Shevlin, together on International Day of People with Disability

Chief Operating Officer and Senior Disability Champion Dionne Higgins, said participation in the index reflected the University’s commitment to maintain and build accessible physical, cultural and digital environments for all RMIT.

“Being an inclusive place to work and study is what makes RMIT special. This index will help ensure our approach and services remain strong, relevant and measured so we can constantly improve to make a difference for everyone,” she said.

Chief People Officer and Senior Disability Champion Allison Shevlin said she was proud to see RMIT being awarded the top rank on the index.

“We’ve found that our relationship with AND and participation in the Index have helped propel our efforts and measure our progress toward accessibility and inclusion for people with disability,” Shevlin said.

Since first participating in the Index when it began in 2016–17, RMIT has improved its initial score of 35 per cent to the current 86 per cent in 2019-20.  

Out of the 10 key areas in the Index, the University once again received top marks for Workplace AdjustmentsProducts and Services (Support to our Students), and Commitment

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President Professor Belinda Tynan said the top result in the Products and Services Category reflected the work done to support thousands of students with disability across the University, including individual education support plans, professional counsellors, mental wellbeing programs, and accessible teaching and learning materials.

“It’s wonderful to have this affirmation of the actions we’re taking to build accessibility and inclusion into everything we do, so our students with disability can participate fully in their studies and the life of the RMIT community,” Tynan said.

One of the biggest areas of improvement for RMIT was Communications and Marketing, following the launch of the Digital Accessibility Framework  in 2019. 

RMIT also showed significant improvements in Career Development, through the implementation of Accessibility and Inclusion training and continuous efforts in career mentoring programs and internships.

Some more recent achievements include:

  • RMIT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Programs of work.  
  • Supporting Universal Design through the OurPlace project. 
  • Implementation of Workplace Adjustment Passport. 
  • Engagement in the Disability Confident Recruiter program. 
  • Equitable Learning Services provided individual consultations to more than 1,740 students with disability to assess adjustment and services for their full participation.
  • Launched a Commitment Statement on inherent requirements in partnership with the RMIT University Student Union reinforcing RMIT's inclusive approach to ensuring students can make informed choices about programs.
  • Implement the Ally tool in Canvas to improve accessibility of learning resources.
  • Participated in the AND’s national program of internships and mentoring with the highest participation rate in mentoring.


Story: Jasmijn van Houten


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer