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Progress Bulletin — NCSEHE Equity Fellow Katelyn Barney

Building a stronger evidence base to support effective outreach strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: Increasing impact and university participation

Dr Katelyn Barney
2020 NCSEHE Equity Fellow
The University of Queensland

Overview of the project

My NCSEHE Equity Fellowship focuses on developing evidence to demonstrate success factors and highlight areas to strengthen outreach initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students. Many universities run outreach initiatives that attempt to elevate aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to go to university. However, research-based evidence of the impact of these programs is limited and there is a relative dearth of publicly available, peer-reviewed research or evaluation on the effects of outreach initiatives. This project will fill that gap by strengthening the evidence and research base about the effectiveness of intensive camp outreach strategies targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and assist in strengthening outreach programs by identifying effective practice.

Improving the evidence base for “what works” in effective outreach camps will highlight the strengths of these programs and help improve and implement stronger programs to support the transition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into higher education. This will be achieved through a high-quality research project that will build the evidence base of effective outreach intensive activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The program of activities builds on my established collaborations by working closely with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group.

Specifically, this project aims to:

  1. identify the range of strategies used in Indigenous-specific intensive outreach programs across Australia
  2. gain knowledge about number/nature/effectiveness of students transitioning into higher education that participate in school outreach activities
  3. evaluate selected Indigenous-specific intensive outreach programs
  4. develop strategies to strengthen outreach programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  5. strengthen the network of influential stakeholders and heighten the awareness of importance of effective evaluation.

This mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) project utilises a case study methodology to identify, summarise, and evaluate the range of outreach strategies used to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ access to higher education across Australia. The evaluation component draws on the ‘Equity Initiatives Framework’ (Bennett et al., 2015; Zacharias, 2017) and Smith’s (2017) ‘conceptual model of potential performance parameters to strengthen Indigenous higher education monitoring and evaluation in Australia’.

Continue reading Katelyn’s June progress bulletin:

Katelyn Barney June bulletin cover


Posted 25 June 2020 Posted in ACSES Equity Fellows, General, Indigenous, Low SES, Regional, rural and remote