Celebrating 40 years of the Disability Resource Centre

Alumni news
23 September 2019

Each year, thousands of new students begin their journey at Deakin. And every year, many of those students access the Disability Resource Centre (DRC).  

In 2019 we mark 40 years since the centre first opened. At the time, this was a unique service.

Deakin was the first university in Australia to employ a Disability Resource Officer, who was dedicated to improving accessibility for students with disability. Initially, support focused on working directly with students on an individual level. Soon after strategies were developed for an inclusive environment with physical accessibility, accessible materials, flexibility in assessment and student supports. In 1999, the first Disability Action Plan was developed to address policy and systemic change.

The DRC was established in 1979 and was originally known as the Lady Vera White Resource Centre. Lady Vera White, Alfred Deakin's daughter, donated $1000 to support students with a disability.

Over the last four decades, the DRC has grown into a service supporting thousands of on and off campus students with a disability to fully participate in university life and study, with Deakin continuing to be a leader in the higher education field.

Today, almost 10 per cent of Deakin's 50,000 plus students identify as having a disability. Of that 10 per cent, over 3000 students utilised the DRC in 2019. This was the highest number of students to date, and we anticipate that this number will only increase.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Deakin’s strong commitment to equitable access to education for people with disability, we hope to create a network of alumni who have an interest in disability support and inclusion at Deakin. We are seeking to do this in a number of ways:

  • if you accessed the DRC while studying at Deakin and would like to share your experience, please email deakinalumni@deakin.edu.au,
  • alternatively, if you would like to be connected with the DRC and updated about the proposed 40 year celebrations, please get in touch.

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The Lady Vera White Centre, 1984

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The Lady Vera White Centre, 1984

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