First graduation for RIDBC Renwick Centre students at Macquarie University

06/05/19
Left to right: Professor Greg Leigh; Master of Disability Studies graduates, Sharyn Fyvie and Cassandra Holmes; Graeme InnesLeft to right: Professor Greg Leigh; Master of Disability Studies graduates, Sharyn Fyvie and Cassandra Holmes; Graeme Innes

The last three years have seen an enormous amount of effort by RIDBC Renwick Centre staff to bring a new affiliation agreement with Macquarie University to fruition.   A new higher degree program (the Master of Disability Studies) has been developed with enrolments commencing in 2017, whilst continuing to teach the last remaining students in the Master of Special Education program at the University of Newcastle.

More than 160 students are now enrolled in the Master of Disability Studies at Macquarie University. A first group of 18 students completed the requirements for the award of the degree in 2018. The formal graduation for those students took place at the University on 23rd April as part of a large ceremony for the Faculty of Human Sciences.

The ceremony was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Bruce Dowton, who made particular mention of the inaugural graduation of Renwick Centre students and commented at length about the relationship with RIDBC and its importance to the University.

To mark the occasion, the Occasional Speaker was well-known disability rights advocate, Mr Graeme Innes AM, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Graeme warmly acknowledged the first Renwick Centre graduates, noting that he himself had been a student at RIDBC. Graeme was among the first students in the new School for the Blind when RIDBC commenced operations at North Rocks in 1961.

The graduates were delighted by their acknowledgement during the ceremony and Graeme was very generous with his time in meeting with many of them after the ceremony. In addition to a strong representation of Renwick Centre staff, the ceremony was attended by RIDBC Vice Presidents, David Dinte and Barbra Stone, and Chief Executive, Chris Rehn who were all pleased to add their congratulations also.

Notably, among the graduating group were two graduates who received the Macquarie University Award for Academic Excellence: Cassandra Holmes, who specialised in Orientation and Mobility instruction, and Sharyn Fyvie, who graduated in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing specialisation. Congratulations are due to them, and to all of our other graduates.

Read more about our other graduates, hear how they did it and what they valued most. Semester 2, 2019 applications are now open for the Master of Disability Studies.