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Reasonable Adjustments - Students Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Policy covers reasonable adjustments that may be made in specified circumstances to academic programs, courses and examinations offered by the University to ensure all its students are able to participate equitably in their course or program of study at the University. This Policy is consistent with the University’s obligations under relevant state and federal legislation.

(2) This Policy applies to all students enrolled at the University.

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Section 2 - Principles and Key Requirements

(3) The University recognises and is committed to its legal and moral responsibilities to provide an inclusive and participatory environment for all students. The University will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate a student within an academic program or course in which they are enrolled or for which they are eligible for admission.

(4) The privacy of the student is a prime consideration throughout the process of assessing and/or developing reasonable adjustments, consistent with the University's Privacy Management Policy. Information will be shared confidentially with University staff who support the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.

(5) UQ recognises that students should be provided with comparable opportunity to engage with academic programs and courses, and demonstrate knowledge and competency for assessment purposes. Where appropriate, the University will make reasonable adjustments for a student or a group of students in circumstances which would generally include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Students who have a disability (as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992) or medical condition;
  2. Students who were recently, or are currently experiencing exceptional circumstances, that are unforeseen, beyond the student’s control and have a significant demonstrable impact on their capacity to engage with the course or program of study;
  3. Students who the University recognises as elite athletes;
  4. Students who have an ongoing commitment to religious observance; or
  5. Students who are engaged in defence service in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001.

(6) Reasonable adjustments will:

  1. Uphold the academic standards and integrity of the program to ensure all graduates have the appropriate knowledge, experience and expertise implicit in the holding of that award. To account for this, reasonable adjustments will be made to support the learning of a student to meet or evidence the threshold of competence;
  2. Meet relevant government legislation; and
  3. Maintain appropriate health and safety standards.

Maintain Appropriate Health and Safety Standards and Identifying Reasonable Adjustments

(7) The identification of reasonable adjustments must be completed through an assessment of the circumstances experienced by an individual student or a group of students, and in consideration of the following principles:

  1. An adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.
  2. Determination of what is reasonable for a student, or a group of students, may change over time.
  3. The type and extent of the adjustments may vary depending on the individual requirements of the student and other relevant circumstances.
  4. Students must provide accurate, appropriate, timely information and engage in the process.
  5. In assessing whether an adjustment to the course or program in which the student is enrolled, or proposes to be enrolled, is reasonable, the University will maintain the threshold of competence (see clause 8).
  6. Where an adjustment is not reasonable, the University will offer alternative reasonable adjustments where possible.

Threshold of Competence

(8) The threshold of competence upholds the academic standards and integrity of the program by ensuring core academic requirements of programs or courses are maintained.

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Section 3 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

(9) The Student Advice Team within Student Services is responsible for:

  1. drafting a Student Access Plan for students considered under this Policy and sharing the agreed adjustments with university staff who enable the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.

(10) The Associate Dean (Academic) or relevant Dean is responsible for:

  1. Implementation and oversight of processes within the Faculty and its Schools for determining the threshold of competence;
  2. Implementation of this Policy and integration within existing responsibilities and accountabilities for teaching and assessment as specified in the Teaching and Learning Roles and Responsibilities Policy and Teaching and Learning Roles and Responsibilities Guideline;
  3. The Associate Dean (Academic) may authorise appropriate decision-makers to consider applications on specified grounds, including but not limited to:
    1. The Deputy Associate Dean (Academic);
    2. The Course Coordinator (for courses); or
    3. The Program Convenor or Head of School (for programs).

(11) It is the responsibility of the relevant Associate Dean (Academic) or relevant Dean, or their nominee and the student to liaise with any relevant professional and registration bodies regarding the acceptability of any reasonable adjustment to an academic program and the associated impact on professional practice and/or registration

(12) The Academic Registrar is responsible for resolving disputes and appeals relating to the Policy and supporting procedures.

(13) The student is responsible for updating the Student Advice Team upon changes to their condition/circumstances and/or changes to their program of study.

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Section 4 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(14) The Academic Registrar and the Director, Student Affairs are responsible for ensuring the Policy and supporting procedures are reviewed as required.

(15) Updates to the Policy may need to be completed more regularly than this to:

  1. Align with changes to legislation;
  2. Align with international best-practice; or
  3. Incorporate required changes from internal or external feedback.
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Section 5 - Recording and Reporting

(16) Interactions with the Student Advice Team regarding reasonable adjustments will be recorded in the Student Management System in the case file of the individual student.

(17) All reasonable adjustments will be made through the Student Advice Team which will ensure consistency in approach to recording.

(18) Data will be captured against the Student Management System which will enable annual reporting to capture trends and inform future initiatives.

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Section 6 - Appendix

Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Term Definition
Academic programs Sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.
Accessibility People’s ability to participate in the life of the University including its teaching, learning, research, employment, physical, and virtual communication environments.
Associate Dean (Academic) Means the Associate Dean (Academic) of the relevant Faculty.
Defence service Service (including training) for the Australian Defence Force Reserves (Naval Reserve, Army Reserve, or Air Force Reserve), in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (Cth).
Disability A condition or state of being which is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) definition. The term includes; physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual and neurological disabilities, physical disfigurement and the presence in the body of organisms causing or capable of causing disease, such as HIV, and includes both permanent and temporary conditions.
Elite Athlete status As defined in clauses 30-37 of the Reasonable Adjustments - Students Procedure.
Reasonable adjustment This is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments which do not impose a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, in order to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy or exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms on a substantively equitable basis with others. In the education environment this may be a measure or action (or group of) that assists the student with a disability to participate on the same basis as a student without a disability and can include an aid, a facility, or a service that the student requires because of the functional consequences of their disability (Disability Standards for Education (2005)).
Reasonable adjustments for students Measures taken to enable students to participate on the same basis (Disability Standards for Education (2005)) as a student without a disability in areas of the University’s operations, including:
• admission and enrolment
• academic activities
• curriculum development, assessment and certification requirements
• physical access to buildings and facilities
• information access
• support services
Reasonable adjustments are to be provided in consultation with the student, within a reasonable time after notification of the need for adjustments. When making an adjustment it is reasonable for the University to maintain the academic requirements of the course or program that are inherent in or essential to its nature (Disability Standards for Education (2005)) – however, this does not mean that all assessment or activities must be the same for all students.
Religious observance Compliance with a religious law, custom, command or rule, or the long-standing custom of celebrating a religious holiday or similar occasion.
Relevant Dean Means the Dean of UQ College or the Dean, Graduate School.
Student Access Plan The document that sets out the reasonable adjustments that have been agreed by the Faculty. This plan is drafted by the Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Services team, with consideration to the principles and key requirements as outlined in section 2. The Plan is then communicated to those university staff who enable the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.