NPP Projects

Building Evidence about Indigenous Pathways and Transitions into Higher Education

Lead University: Charles Darwin University

Lead Researcher: James Smith

Research Team: James Smith and Jack Frawley

Year Funded: 2014

Funding Received: $327,290

DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.6474062.v1

 

Abstract

This project centred on a Forum incorporating keynote addresses, working groups, poster presentations, workshops and yarning circles to develop a national evidence base about new and emerging approaches and strategies for promoting Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education in Australia. Outputs included the publication of a book of papers launched at the Forum and a special issue of Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning In Social Contexts.

Project Outline

  • The project had five objectives:
  1. facilitate networking, share information and create a national dialogue about Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education
  2. provide a culturally safe opportunity to share stories and emerging evidence about Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education
  3. generate and document an evidence base about the most effective approaches for supporting Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education
  4. explore different and innovative approaches and strategies that incorporate Indigenous knowledges and practices into the development and implementation of Indigenous focused pathways and transitions into higher education
  5. generate and document an evidence base about the most effective approaches for supporting Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education.
  • Project activities included:
    • conducting the Engagement at the Interface: Indigenous Pathways and Transitions into Higher Education Forum on 22–23 October 2015 at the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education at Charles Darwin University
    • establishing a Forum steering group
    • engaging a project coordinator and professional conference organiser
    • calling for abstracts producing a Forum evaluation report
    • publication of a book of papers launched at the Forum.

Key Findings

  • The Forum was a success with a number of outputs and outcomes:
    • It was divided into 45 substantive sessions, working groups, poster presentations, workshops and yarning circles to share perspectives and experiences.
    • Keynote addresses were given by four prominent Indigenous scholars.
    • The Forum was attended by a total of 130 delegates from 26 Australian universities, and 10 Indigenous organisations and departments.
    • A selection of Forum papers was published in a special issue of Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning In Social Contexts.
    • A book was published with 15 chapters by 40 individual and co-authors, including 21 Indigenous authors.
    • The Forum and book have acted as a catalyst for a national dialogue about Indigenous pathways and transitions.
  • The book, Indigenous Pathways, Transitions and Participation in Higher Education From Policy to Practice, edited by Jack Frawley, Steve Larkin and James Smith, included chapters on the following subjects:
  1. From policy to practice: Indigenous pathways and transitions to higher education.

Policy and systems

  1. Understanding the nexus between equity and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education policy agendas in Australia: What are the synergies, tensions and possibilities?
  2. A design and evaluation framework for Indigenisation of Australian universities.
  3. How we do business: setting the agenda for cultural competence at the University of Sydney.

Engagement

  1. What do we know about community engagement in Indigenous education contexts and how might this impact on pathways into higher education?
  2. Tackling Indigenous incarceration through engagement with higher education.
  3. Promoting engagement and success at university through strengthening the online learning experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students living and studying in remote communities.

Pathways

  1. Perspectives on enabling education for Indigenous students at three comprehensive universities in regional Australia.
  2. The impact of enabling programs on Indigenous participation, success and retention in Australian higher education.
  3. Indigenous knowledges, graduate attributes and recognition for prior learning for advanced standing: tensions within the academy.
  4. ‘Red dirt’ schools and pathways into higher education.
  5. Canada’s Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Post-secondary Education: The Spirit of the ‘New Buffalo’

Transition, participation and success

  1. Digital literacy and other factors influencing the success of online courses in remote Indigenous communities.
  2. Grandmothers’ pedagogy: lessons from grandmothers in supporting Native students’ attending universities.
  3. You’ve got to put your stamp on things: a rippling story of success.
  • The book has achieved more than 28,000 downloads in the first year of release.

Recommendations

  • The Forum and book provided numerous findings that are valuable to making positive contributions to addressing Indigenous disadvantage in higher education.

Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.


 

Posted 5 April 2018