Dr Mary Keeffe

mark keeffe

Associate Professor in Inclusive Education, Faculty of Education (Bendigo)

 Inclusive education aims to address the educational needs of all students, but particularly those with learning difficulties caused by issues such as a disability, poverty, or neglect. For Dr Mary Keeffe, educating future teachers about this area is a natural extension of her previous work as a special education teacher and principal of a special education school.

Mary teaches classes in La Trobe’s undergraduate and postgraduate special education programs at the Bendigo campus, and supervises postdoctoral students conducting research into students with special needs. She says her students enjoy the challenges and complexity of the topics they study, such as the difficulties students with autism can face in their school life. Through their research, students identify best practice for dealing with particular learning difficulties, and then take these ideas into the classroom.

Mary explains that there is a real community of care at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus. ‘Students have a connection with their lecturers, and because of that the discussions we have are often very personally connected and relevant to students’ own learning and teaching experiences. So it’s like a country community – it’s personal and interesting.’

Mary also makes special mention of La Trobe’s postgraduate special education program, which is delivered entirely online and is therefore quite unique in Australia. This program gives professionals who are working in the field of special education an opportunity to upgrade their qualifications while living anywhere in the world.    

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