Maintaining the Momentum: Transition Pedagogy to sustain Widening Participation and Student Success
Curtin University - Technology Park, Enterprise Unit 4, 9 De Laeter Way, Bentley WA 6102
9 May 2018
Seminar presented by NCSEHE Visiting Fellow Professor Sally Kift.
In 2018, we know a lot about what works for student learning, success, and retention. And, thanks to widening participation’s years of patient outreach work, which has delivered thousands more underrepresented students to our virtual and physical classrooms, our higher education focus on assuring diverse cohorts’ learning success has also sharpened significantly. However, just as we should be celebrating the zenith of equity group participation in Australian higher education, the government’s re-imposition of caps on student places and the enormous pressure on university budgets to do more with less, while pursuing ever more aggressive research agendas, have now seen the first cracks appearing in what had been, for the most part, unwavering commitment to the sector’s social justice and equity agenda.
As Australian higher education is challenged to respond to the new normal of finite resourcing, increased competition, endemic disruption, and high turnover of equity, support, and teaching-focused staff, it will be suggested that Transition Pedagogy, harnessed strategically and holistically across an institution, provides a longer-term and sustainable response to maintaining our transformative higher education aspirations. Transition pedagogy (TP) is “a guiding philosophy for intentional first year curriculum design and support that carefully scaffolds the first year learning experience for contemporary heterogeneous cohorts” (Kift, 2009). Since its inception over a decade ago, it has been well received, adopted and adapted, both nationally and internationally, across many disciplines, institutions and aspects of the student lifecycle (Kift, 2015). Particularly for the widening participation context, TP focuses on what students have in common—their learning experiences mediated through curriculum—rather than problematising their diversity and difference.
This seminar discussed TP, and its framing around six First Year Curriculum Principles, and facilitated consideration of examples and strategies to promote inclusion and retention of non-traditional students. Attendees were taken through the distinctive and enabling features of TP’s integrative framework in the equity context, which are suggested to be threefold: first, an intentional and inclusive curriculum focus to mediate the coherence and quality of the student experience equitably over the student lifecycle; secondly, a whole-of-institution and whole-of-student emphasis that delivers coordinated and integrated engagement and just-in-time, just-for-me support; and, thirdly, the enabling capacity of academic and professional staff working together in cross-institutional partnerships to assure the seamlessness of student success as everybody’s business. The seminar concluded with time for questions and discussion.
View the presentation slides below.
About the Presenter:
Sally Kift is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and elected President of the Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows (ALTF). From 2012-2017, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University. Prior to JCU, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology, where she also served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001-2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Sally is a national Teaching Award winner (2003) and national Program Award winner (2007). She was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) in 2006 to investigate the first year experience and is a Discipline Scholar in Law. In 2017, Sally was awarded an Australian Award for University Teaching Career Achievement Award for her contribution to Australian higher education.