NCSEHE 2020 Annual Report
Type of Publication: Annual report
Lead Organisation: NCSEHE
Year Published: 2021
Lead Researcher: NCSEHE
Professor Sarah O’Shea
Throughout 2020, the NCSEHE worked to ensure that educational equity remained foregrounded across higher education policy, practice and research. As evidenced in our seventh Annual Report, the Centre not only provided a strong networking function between student equity policymakers, researchers and practitioners but also quickly adapted to a changing and volatile higher education environment.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic created new and pressing challenges for student equity in Australian higher education. The NCSEHE responded swiftly and strategically to the COVID-19 crisis:
- Within two weeks of university closures (March 2020), the NCSEHE had built an online portal for distributing COVID-19 related resources.
- By the third week of closures (early April 2020), the NCSEHE had planned strategic webinars and, over 2020 produced five COVID-19 specific webinars, totalling over 2,000 registrants.
- Within a month post-closure, the NCSEHE had provided both a government-commissioned report on the impact of home learning on vulnerable students and commenced a national research grant program which included a COVID-19 focus.
The Centre worked creatively and collaboratively to ensure the core mission continued to be met; namely, to improve the participation and success in higher education for marginalised and disadvantaged people. Meeting this objective was achieved through the key priorities of the NCSEHE which include strengthening Australia’s student equity in higher education research quality, capability and capacity; supporting the building of a robust evidence base; informing institutional best practice and enhancing on-the-ground delivery of equity measures; and informing evidence-based public policy design and implementation.
Despite disruptions caused by border closures, remote working conditions, university shutdowns and ongoing uncertainty within the sector, the Centre managed and led research projects; provided leadership and commentary across the nation; provided universal access to student equity data; and continued to connect and engage with stakeholders through a wide number of events and media communications.