ANU Regional Partnerships Program
Schools appreciate the opportunity to visit the university to ‘see and feel what a university is like’, and the contact with ANU students
The Australian National University Regional Partnerships Program commenced in 2009 as a pilot program as an important part of the University’s engagement with its surrounding regions. Fifteen schools in the southeast region of NSW are currently in the program, a region which is relatively close to Canberra but where there is sometimes a perception that university is not relevant or accessible. The ANU Regional Partnerships Program seeks to dispel this perception, primarily through presentations from ANU academics and staff within Halls of residence, and ANU Community Ambassadors who are current students, many from regional areas themselves. These volunteers are trained and supported by our education team; professional staff with a range of discipline backgrounds and teaching experience.
The program consists of a number of school-based programs and ANU campus and residential programs that provide educational enrichment to school students from primary schools through to year 12, community based partnerships, an admission package to support entry to ANU, and transition grants that support the move to Canberra. In 2012, current ANU students also established the Regional, Rural and Remote Students’ Society that helps with the transition to university upon arrival.
The ANU Regional Partnerships Program raises awareness about university study, enhances educational outcomes for students from its partnership schools and encourages consideration of university as a post-school option.
Outreach and on-campus activities are currently supported by the HEPPP. Initially transition grants and support for information and administration for the admissions package were also supported by the HEPPP, but these are now supported by the ANU.
In 2012, the ANU Regional Partnerships program had direct contact with over 7,000 regional school students.
15% increase of university offers (all University Admissions Centre (UAC) universities) indicated by UAC data from partnership schools
24% increase of actual enrolments since the 2010 intake
27% increase in offers to the ANU since 2010
28% increase in enrolments since 2010
Quantitative and qualitative evaluations are conducted for individual projects and all schools involved have been asked to evaluate the impact of the program on their students. Findings indicate that schools value the partnership highly and appreciate the variety of activities available, the opportunity to visit the ANU ‘to see and feel what a university is like’, and the contact with ANU students.
Teachers have commented on the positive impact the Community Ambassadors have on their students as role models, and how effective Ambassadors were at delivering information about admission and transition to university.
“As we are dealing with adolescent students, they appreciate the opportunity to discuss learning with people they see as peers, but people they admire and look up to.” – Teacher comment about the effectiveness of Community Ambassadors.
Whilst the admissions package has now been embedded into the admissions policy of the ANU and transition grants are covered by the ANU endowment, the sustainability of the broad range of on-campus and outreach activities is of concern.
This case study is one of a series of 39 presented in our case study publication, Access and Participation in Higher Education: Outreach – Access – Support.