Get Into Uni
The program is flexible in its approach so that we provide, relevant, community-driven and appropriate support and engagement
James Cook University’s (JCU) Get Into Uni program is a major initiative in regional school and community engagement. It works with approximately 200 secondary and primary schools, and eight community ‘hubs’, to stimulate interest in and awareness of tertiary study. It aims to alleviate potential barriers to access and participation faced by target LSES and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups. Get Into Uni spans 500,000 km2 of north and far north Queensland, including island communities in the Torres Strait, Gulf and east coast.
JCU acknowledges the distinctive barriers faced by our target groups, and the potential adverse impact on educational access and achievement. The program is flexible so that we provide relevant, community-driven and appropriate support and engagement, which ensures needs are identified and met. The program is commonly tailored to address existing school and community practice and agendas; culture and cultural events or programs; access to university campuses and resources; issues of remoteness and isolation; and background and education levels/experiences.
The program offers a range of activities held at university campuses and in schools and communities. Activities span Years 5/6 to Year 12, and adult and non-school leaver target cohorts. A program of professional development and guidance exists for partners, key stakeholders and key influencers.
To ensure all students in identified LSES schools, and identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in identified LSES communities and hubs, have access to tertiary awareness and preparation. The program supports JCU’s strategic intent through meaningful engagement that embraces the diversity of communities we serve, creating opportunities and enduring benefits for our region.
JCU School and Community Engagement teams and associated costs for project and outreach activities have been HEPPP funded since mid-2011.
Through 2012 in partner schools alone, 13,643 participants, 520 activities and 51 schools were engaged. Evaluation revealed 91 per cent average positive feedback.
The Get Into Uni program is measured across outputs and outcomes, which indicate engagement and impact across target groups, partners and stakeholders. Quantitative and qualitative data is being collected, and data from other sources such as the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre and Next Steps is being collated and analysed under the Queensland Widening Participation Consortium.
Following engagement in activities 2013 year-to-date:
83% of school students stated a desire to attend university
85% thought it would be possible to access university
In 2012, three Uni Preparation programs were delivered in remote communities, with a total of 15 participants, with 11 subsequent enrolments at university. Progress includes:
- approximately 14,000 students engaged with the program each year
- 61 learning resources developed
- 23 Indigenous community partnerships brokered, and
- 120 JCU student ambassadors recruited and trained.
“The student ambassadors have really helped me in deciding what to do after high school.” – year 10 student.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, the change in these students, in all my years of being in different schools and getting involved with different [university] activities, I’ve never seen anything so powerful … These are students who weren’t thinking of university, and now they’re all planning on going and are really excited about it.” – principal, target school.
Evaluation, research and partner analyses are ongoing to further understanding about the specific nature of school and community needs and the potential barriers and issues faced by target students. We will also further explore and evidence the nature and extent of outcomes and impact of the Get Into Uni program.
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.