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Access and Widening Participation at the University of Newcastle: Synergies, Strengths and Challenges for Enabling Programs

Presentation by Associate Professor Seamus Fagan and Dr Anna Bennett, March 2017

On Thursday 9 March, we welcomed Associate Professor Seamus Fagan and Dr Anna Bennett to the NCSEHE to present an overview of the enabling programs and research projects at the University of Newcastle focusing on access and widening participation.

Representatives from Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University participated in the session, discussing the synergies, strengths and challenges for enabling programs.

Click the links below to access the presentation slides and audio recordings:



About the Presenters:

Seamus Fagan

Associate Professor Seamus Fagan has been the Director of the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre (ELFSC) at the University of Newcastle, NSW, since 2001. In this role, Seamus oversees a large portfolio of ELICOS and enabling programs. Seamus has played a key role in the establishment of the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) and currently serves on its executive. He is CI of the OLT funded project (Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education and is involved in a collaborative project exploring the educational aspirations and participation of Indigenous women in regional, rural and remote communities. Seamus has also co-led another recent project titled The Ripple Effect: how enabling education impacts on the individual, the family and the community.

Anna Bennett

Dr Anna Bennett is Head of English Language and Foundation Studies Centre (ELFSC) Research Engagement and Development at the University of Newcastle, NSW. Current areas of research include: the study of discourses of access, participation and equity in higher education; exploring identities and investments in higher education, equity programme evaluation; and enabling pedagogies. In addition to leading the Critical Interventions Framework Part 2 (2015), Anna has been involved in various research projects, including two NCSEHE funded projects about student capability and belonging (2015) and experiences of time in higher education (2016). Anna is co-facilitator of the NAEEA Research Development and Collaboration Special Interest Group (with Professor Penny Jane Burke), which aims to bring together colleagues who are interested in research about enabling programs, the transition of students into and through higher education and lifelong learning, and as related to other related fields of research, such as widening participation, equity and social justice in education.

Read more about Australian enabling programs: Pathways to Higher Education: The Efficacy of Enabling and Sub-Bachelor Pathways for Disadvantaged Students


Posted 14 March 2017 Posted in Disability, General, Indigenous, Low SES, Regional, rural and remote