News & Events

NCSEHE Webinar: Higher education participation and completion of regional and remote students

Event Details
Online webinar
14 November 2017 3:00 am

The second webinar in the Building Legacy and Capacity series put a spotlight on the higher education participation and completion outcomes of regional and remote students.

While Australian universities have engaged in strategic efforts to address the lower participation and completion rates of regional and remote students for many years, there is currently renewed interest by the Australian Government to explore supportive policy settings.

It is clear that regional and remote students as well as regional higher education institutions face structural challenges that impact on participation and completion outcomes. At the same time, regional institutions do the heavy lifting in attracting students from regional and remote backgrounds to higher education and graduating them, notwithstanding an increasing flow of regional and remote students to metropolitan universities. For equity practitioners, researchers and policymakers, there remain questions about the nature of the problem and the best ways to support people in regional and remote locations to access and succeed in higher education.

The webinar reported on the discussion and insights generated during the Building Legacy and Capacity workshop held in Perth in October 2017, where a small group of participants—including researchers, practitioners, policymakers and senior managers—contributed their insights as subject matter experts. The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • define a collective knowledge base informed by research and practice
  • engage in strategic and action planning to guide institutional practice and future research
  • develop evidence-informed policy advice.

The webinar was hosted by Nadine Zacharias from the NCSEHE and co-presented by Karen Nelson from USC and Cathy Stone, 2017 Visiting Research Fellow with the NCSEHE who were both participants at the workshop.

View the presentation slides here.

Read the transcript here.

About the presenters

Karen Nelson is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC). Karen is responsible for developing the USC student experience and leading a range of innovative curricular and co-curricular initiatives to enhance the student experience, retention and success. Karen has previously led a series of large national projects, which have produced transferable resources for the sector. In 2016, she led an eight-institution national project shaping the 21st century student experience in regional universities and in 2017 produced a research report for the NCSEHE Understanding the completion patterns of equity students in regional universities. Karen is the Editor of the Student Success Journal and Co-Chair of the annual STARS Conference.

Cathy Stone is a 2016 Equity Fellow and 2017 Visiting Research Fellow with the NCSEHE. She is also a Conjoint Associate Professor in Social Work with the University of Newcastle, Australia. Cathy has a longstanding interest in and commitment to student equity, widening participation and improving the student experience for increasingly diverse university student cohorts. She has worked for many years in developing and managing student support and success programs in both on-campus and online university environments, as well as researching ways these can be improved. Cathy’s key research interests and publications focus particularly on improving the experiences of mature age, first-in family and online students. Further details about Cathy’s work can be found at:

Nadine Zacharias is Senior Research Fellow at the NCSEHE and was an inaugural Equity Fellow in 2016. Nadine’s research interests and expertise are at the intersection of equity research, practice and policy at institutional and national levels. She has led applied research projects in the fields of equity policy and program management, inclusive teaching and learning, and gender equity in employment. Nadine was Director, Equity and Diversity at Deakin University from 2011 to 2016 where she led one of the most integrated and effective Equity teams in Australian higher education.

We would like to thank the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) for their kind support in the production of this webinar.

Posted 14 November 2017