Major research fellowships promote student equity in higher education
The NCSEHE has appointed four new Equity Fellows who will conduct targeted research projects to advance student equity research, policy and practice.
The 2020 Equity Fellows, Mr David Eckstein (Swinburne University of Technology), Dr Tim Pitman (Curtin University), Dr Janine Delahunty (University of Wollongong) and Dr Andrea Simpson (La Trobe University), will undertake year-long projects focusing on regional and remote students, students with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Their projects will be conducted alongside 2019/20 Equity Fellows Dr Katelyn Barney and Dr Nicole Crawford.
Mr David Eckstein’s Fellowship project, Meaningful jobs for graduates with disability: From luck to business as usual, will address inequities in post-graduation employment and graduate programs for students with disability.
“Graduates with disability experience inferior employment outcomes compared to students without a disability,” Mr Eckstein said.
“This Fellowship aims to add disability to the national conversation about student employment by identifying best practice initiatives and developing open-access tools and guidelines for all universities to use.”
Dr Tim Pitman will conduct Australia-wide research on how universities can best support people with disability who come from regional, rural and remote Australia.
“Currently, there are anywhere between 8,000–10,000 people from regional Australia, who identify as having disability, undertaking higher education studies,” Dr Pitman said.
“In this project, I am excited to be working with students with disability, and the higher education staff who support them, to deepen our knowledge and understanding about what works, and what doesn’t.”
Dr Janine Delahunty’s Fellowship, entitled ‘You going to uni?’: Exploring how regional people navigate into and through higher education, will provide evidence-based resources and principles to improve regional student retention.
“The focus of my Equity Fellowship will be on the higher-than-average attrition of regional students from university,” Dr Delahunty said.
“I am interested in finding out from regional students themselves what their perspectives are on future goals and what they perceive, or have already experienced, as barriers to completing a university degree.”
Dr Andrea Simpson will investigate pathways to higher degree allied health coursework programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce capacity in the allied health professions is a vital part of reducing the health and equity burden faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Dr Simpson said.
“This project aims to identify strategies that can act to strengthen the pipeline between vocational education and training (VET) sector health qualifications and higher degree allied health coursework programs.”
The Equity Fellows Program is in its fourth year, with six projects already completed during 2016–18, NCSEHE Director Professor Sue Trinidad said.
“Our previous Equity Fellows have set the bar high with their diligence and commitment to student equity in higher education,” Professor Trinidad said.
“I have no doubt that these incoming Fellows will approach their projects with the same vigour and make their own mark as future leaders in the student equity sector, continuing to build the evidence base.”
The Equity Fellows Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education under the National Priorities Pool (NPP) Program.
More information on the NCSEHE Equity Fellows Program is available here.