Progress Bulletin — NCSEHE Equity Fellow Janine Delahunty
‘You going to uni?’: Exploring how regional people navigate into and through higher education
Dr Janine Delahunty
2020 NCSEHE Equity Fellow
University of Wollongong
Overview of the project
My NCSEHE Equity Fellowship focuses on the perspectives of regional students, who are either already studying at university or are nearing the end of secondary school and contemplating their future. Through interviews and surveys, the aim is to gather in-depth understandings of what is pertinent for regional students. These experiences and perspectives will be used to unpack some of the complexities that emerge, and will shed light on what it is like “being regional” in order to gain a deeper understanding into why regional students are more likely than their metropolitan counterparts to discontinue their studies. This will contribute to how regional students can be better supported in pursuing their goals and completing their studies.
In particular, I am interested in how higher education is experienced (or imagined); the multilayered nature of decision-making when considering university study and future possibilities; and the barriers and enablers that are influential in hindering or assisting students’ efforts towards achieving goals. Reflective, open questioning is intended to elicit nuanced responses from the study participants. This will assist in developing a deeper understanding of students’ motivations and the complexities of their decision-making — often against a backdrop of multiple and compounding educational and structural inequities.
At this point in time, research participation is open to current undergraduate regional students enrolled in Australian higher education institutions and higher education staff in various roles who provide support to regional students (support services, careers or counselling roles, mentoring, teaching, management, policymaking etc.).
Research activities to date
While the COVID-19 situation has paused some of the planned research activities (planning to resume in June/July), some recruitment of university students and staff did proceed. A number have participated in phone interviews, and others have completed the surveys. For the school-focused phase of the project, recruitment of senior school students in two university outreach programs is underway, and I am waiting on ethics clearances from state jurisdictions to recruit senior students and staff in state secondary schools.
This update focuses on a selection of preliminary findings from the university student data.
Continue reading Janine’s June progress bulletin: