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Janet Owens is a Senior Lecturer in the area of disability studies in the School of Health and Social Development. She teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and supervises higher degree students. Her areas of teaching and research include communication, communication impairment, hearing impairment and deafness, assistive technology, telecommunications access, accessible information and collaborative disability research.
Janet has worked on equity and access research and development projects since 1996 and has managed several Commonwealth, State and industry-funded projects. Janet is a member of the Centre for Health through Action on Social Exclusion at Deakin University. She is also a Board Member of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association.
Unit Chair HDS 101
Unit Chair HDS 715
Unit Chair 306, 720
Teaching in HDS 306, 720
Teaching in HDS 106, 726
Teaching in HDS 102, 712
Teaching in HDS 203, 717
1 PhD student (Assoc. Supervisor)
Janet Owens’ research is primarily concerned with equity and access for people with disabilities and for seniors in Australia. Janet has worked with industry partners, the Commonwealth government and with other academics on projects that have focussed on telecommunication and information barriers and solutions. Projects have included the evaluation of an email training program using accessible email software and two separate investigations of telecommunication barriers and solutions for people with disabilities and for seniors. In one project, the information requirements of people with complex communication needs were investigated and a set of guidelines for making information accessible were devised.
Importantly, projects are underpinned by a philosophy of inclusion so collaboration occurs with stakeholders, particularly the consumer group that should ultimately benefit from the research, early in the projects. Publications and reports focus on research methodologies and inclusion considerations as well as on data-related outcomes. For example, the use of focus groups and interviews with people with complex communication needs requires accommodations and flexibility that are not typically addressed in the literature. Ms. Owens’ research outcomes are shared with funding bodies, the academic and general communities and, importantly, with the stakeholder groups that the projects concern.
Member, Speech Pathology Australia
Member, Makaton Victoria
Member, Australian Rehabilitation and Technology Association (ARATA)
Janet is involved in a wide range of Departmental, Faculty and University committees:
• Equity and Equal Opportunity Reference Group
• Faculty Board
• Faculty Research and Graduate Studies Committee
• School Teaching and Learning Committee
• School Academic Progress Committee.
She serves on the editorial board of the journal, Disability and Rehabilitation and has been a reviewer for the International Journal of Knowledge, Technology and Society; International Journal of Disability, Development and Education; and Journal of Religion, Disability and Health.
Janet is also a member of the Committee of Management, Biala Box Hill Early Childhood Intervention Service
• Harper, P., O’Connor, B. & Owens, J. (2005). Implications of a video relay interpreting (VRI) service for deaf people in healthcare settings. The 3rd International Conference on Communication, Medicine and Ethics and the 8th Annual Seminar of the Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine (COMET-VELUM). Invited paper for the colloquim, Access to healthcare: Discourse and communication issues for deaf sign language users. Sydney, June.
• Owens, J. (2004). Focus Groups with People Who Have Complex Communication Needs. National Conference of the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association. Philadelphia: November.
• Owens, J. & Smith, K. (2004). Seniors and Telecommunication Access: Disability and Disadvantage? Proceedings of the National Conference of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association. Melbourne: June.
• Owens, J. (2003). Inclusion and accountability: Communications research with consumers with disabilities. Proceedings of the Communications Research Forum. Canberra: October.
• Owens, J. & Scherer, M. (2003). Consumers as Partners in Inclusive Assistive Technology Research. Proceedings of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Conference. Atlanta, Georgia: June.