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Critical Interventions Framework Part 2

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEHEE) at the University of Newcastle, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, has been awarded funding of $205,262 to expand the Critical Interventions Framework for Advancing Equity in Australian Higher Education (CIF I). CIF I was produced by Dr Ryan Naylor, Dr Chi Baik and Professor Richard James from the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of Melbourne (2013).

Anna Bennett leads 2015 team members Geoff Whitty, Jenny Gore, Max Smith, Belinda Munn, Richard James, Chi Baik, Ryan Naylor, Andrew Harvey and Matt Brett on the Critical Interventions Framework Part 2 (CIF II) project. The project extends the study to include initiatives at the ‘retention progress and success’ stage of the student continuum (as detailed in the table below):

Student Continuum StageExamples of Types of Initiatives
Outreach to schools and communitiesLater year outreach (Years 10–12) in schools to children and families
School curriculum enhancement and support
Access, Recruitment, Selection and AdmissionsPathway programs, articulation programs, guaranteed pathways
Bridging programs, foundation programs, ‘Year 13’
Alternate selection criteria and tools
TransitionFirst year orientation and transition support programs
Retention, progress and successStudent services provision
Careers and employment information/support (pre- or post-course completion)

The CIF II will provide a comprehensive and adaptable framework for Australian higher education providers. Discussing the project, Dr Anna Bennett said:

“The CIF Part 2 will develop the literature review from the original CIF and broaden the study to include an empirical component of surveys and phone interviews. Effective equity initiatives across Australia will be featured within a detailed typology. Providers will be able to search the inventory of initiatives for suitable strategies to engage and enable students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Professor Geoff Whitty, Co-Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education and co-investigator stated:

“This is a really important project that will provide a framework for developing and evaluating interventions that will make a difference not only to the access of disadvantaged groups to higher education but also to their retention and progression into the workforce.”

The CIF Part 2 project has been funded under the National Priorities Pool component of the Department of Education and Training’s Higher Education Participation Programme (HEPP) and is expected to be complete by 23 December 2015.

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education undertakes interdisciplinary, international and collaborative research designed to create the highest standards in equity practice locally, nationally and globally.

Outcomes of the CIF Part 2 project will enhance the centre’s commitment to creating new systems and practices that will provide new ways of working with students from historically under-represented backgrounds and supporting them through to higher education as lifelong learners.

For more information about participating in the survey, please contact Elizabeth Bridges, Project Coordinator, via email at

Posted 6 May 2015 Posted in General, Low SES