University tops accessibility and inclusion index

University tops accessibility and inclusion index

RMIT University has been named as Australia’s top performer when it comes to accessibility and inclusivity, besting 23 other organisations in the Australian Network on Disability’s (AND) 2019-2020 Access and Inclusion Index.

The University has been consistently rising in the rankings these past years, climbing from fourth place in 2019 and fifth the year before.

The index measures an organisation’s “physical, technological and cultural” accessibility to people with disability.

The University has participated in the rankings since its inception in 2016 and has improved from its initial score of 35% in the first year to 86% in the current index.

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 of RMIT’s ascent to the top of the rankings.

“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,” she said.

Topping key areas

Out of the 10 key areas, RMIT received top marks for workplace adjustments, products and services, and commitment.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President Professor Belinda Tynan said the taking the top spot in the products and services category reflected the University’s efforts to support its thousands of students with disability. These include 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,” Professor Tynan said.

According to the University, one of its biggest areas of improvement was in the communications and marketing category, following last year’s launch of the Digital Accessibility Framework.

RMIT also reaped huge improvements in the career development category through the implementation of accessibility and inclusion training, and career mentoring and programs and internships.

Other organisations in the index were the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Medibank, which rounded up the top three performers.