Congratulations! 2024 Equity Fellows Announced
The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) at Curtin University today announced Equity Fellowships for 2024 have been awarded to Associate Professor Amani Bell at The University of Sydney, Ms Danielle Keenan at the University of Technology Sydney, and Dr Bret Stephenson at La Trobe University.
Associate Professor Bell’s project, Addressing placement inequities through participatory action research, will focus on compulsory work-based placements. The research aims to find solutions to combat placement poverty and ensure an equitable experience for all students, regardless of their background.
Associate Professor Bell said students often experience financial stress while on placement, sometimes alongside health issues, and caring responsibilities.
“We need to provide equity-deserving students undertaking placements with better support. My fellowship project will see me conducting participatory action research alongside students, educators, policymakers, and placement providers to improve outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds and ultimately create a more diverse workforce.”
Ms Keenan’s project, Roadmap to success: Decoding the regional university study hubs, will explore the effectiveness of regional university centres and identify the key factors influencing access, participation, retention, and success for students in regional, rural, and remote areas.
Ms Keenan said the Regional University Study Hub Program had been successful in supporting more than 3,300 students from regional communities across Australia, driving parity of participation for equity students in higher education.
“My Fellowship will explore the program’s effectiveness and guide future policies and practices in higher education. As an equity practitioner working in, with, and alongside regional students and communities, I hope insights and recommendations from this research will provide a foundation for improving equity and widening participation in Australian higher education at a national level.”
Dr Stephenson’s project, Centring equity in data and AI governance: Informing policy to empower practice, will produce a digital governance framework to support the protection of highly-sensitive student data given the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence by the Australian Government and higher education sector.
Dr Stephenson said Australia’s forthcoming AI-driven ‘digital age’ holds tremendous promise and potential peril for student equity.
“My Fellowship project is based on the conviction that placing student equity at the core of a strong and participatory data and digital governance framework is essential for the continued advancement of student equity throughout the sector.”
Since 2015, the NCSEHE Equity Fellowship Program has produced strategic, high-impact, high-profile research, policy, and practice work focused on making it better for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access, participate in, and succeed at university. The new Equity Fellows will extend these efforts by working on specific projects to tackle some of the biggest challenges in higher education.