Other Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Supple, B.
Inclusion in higher education: An analysis of policy, good practice and attitudes at one Melbourne University
Optional Fields
higher education inclusion peer learning disability
This research was based at one university in Melbourne, Australia and examined the stories of four international students with a disability from Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka and the USA and their experiences of living and learning in a country outside of their own. Four teaching staff who had experienced teaching an international student with a disability were also interviewed to glean insight into their experiences as inclusive practitioners, and one Disability Liaison Unit (DLU) staff member also gave his insight into service provisions at the university. Policy documents for the university were also analysed. The aims of this thesis were firstly, to represent the student voice, that is, to document lived experiences and insider perspectives with regard to university level education as an international student with a disability; secondly, to explore current practices and staff attitudes regarding working with students with a disability in order to inform future professional development models; and thirdly, to ascertain any gaps between inclusive policy and practices at the research university. Using thick description and Voice Relational Methodology (VRM) as data presentation and analysis tools underpinned by Bourdieu's critical theory, the study found that contrary to some of the research literature, students had a positive experience at this university. This was attributed to 1) having a positive experience with one staff member and 2) having had a negative experience in their respective home countries in comparison. The study also found that the teaching staff experienced a lack of support through their teaching journey in working with an international student with a disability and that there was much scope for new professional development models. The policy analysis revealed a number of mismatches between inclusive approaches at the researched university and actual practice. The major implications from this study highlight the importance of students as active stakeholders in leveraging knowledge and experience in educating staff and informing policy and practice. The findings from this study also underscore the importance of a rigorous whole of systems approach to professional development for staff. A comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to training which includes information on critical theoretical perspectives on disability, legal issues, appropriate accommodations for students, communicating with students who have a disability and teaching resources were found to be key issues. These implications informed the researcher‘s thinking on the development of two models – one for future directions in inclusion in higher education and the other for policy development via a flowchart.
Grant Details