PhD student is Mr January for disability calendar

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PhD student is Mr January for disability calendar


Published on 23 March 2012

23 March 2012

PhD student is Mr January for disability calendar

University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student Robert White from Toowoomba has kept sight of his academic goals despite a haemorrhage robbing him of vision in one eye seven years ago.

The 55-year old, who is close to completing a research project on lifelong learning, is featured on the January page of the Queensland Government’s Share Your Story 2012 Calendar.

Mr White said he felt honoured to appear in the Department of Communities publication and help raise awareness about disabilities.

“I accidently stumbled across the Share your Story website and even though I had contended with a disability for quite a few years, I thought this would be great first opportunity to have a little bit of a say about it,” he said.

“I felt it was all a bit of a hoot at the time but once I discovered how wide the calendar was circulated, I knew it was a good way to raise awareness about disabilities. There are a lot of people in the community coping with a disability on a daily basis but it may not be necessarily obvious.”

Mr White said wearing an eye-patch in public usually made it easier for people to recognise he was visually impaired.

He said he managed his condition by limiting the hours spent in front of the computer, and he had come to accept that some tasks take longer for him to complete.

“Headaches are the most common side-effect of my condition but I can also suffer from phantom images where you might miss things or see things that aren’t really there,” he explained.

Over the years, Mr White has achieved an Associate Diploma in Business (Accounting), Diploma in Business (Banking and Finance), and a Master of Education. He hopes to complete his PhD research on the “Social Determinants of Propensity to Lifelong Learning” in September.

He also reviews journal articles in the “Higher Education Review” and writes book reviews for scholarly journal “Studies in Continuing Education”.

USC Student Equity and Diversity Officer Marjorie Blowers said USC was committed to providing equity of access, support and participation to all students with a disability.

“The University has held one of the highest proportions of students with disabilities in the state at 5.26% in 2010,” she said. “Disability Services works with students who have a disability, health or medical problem to develop an equitable academic access plan to ensure the best assistance is in place to achieve academic potential.”

— Michelle Widdicombe

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