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New research — Supporting and engaging students through COVID-19

A newly-released international study explored the strategies employed to support students to remain engaged during COVID-19 and how these were perceived by student groups, particularly those from minoritised and intersectional backgrounds.

The research team, led by Dr Lucy Mercer-Mapstone from the University of Sydney surveyed students from 12 universities from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Survey findings included:

  • It was often unclear how students could access support.
  • Mass communications which were impersonal made students feel unseen and undervalued.
  • Asset-oriented communication was more positively received than deficit-orientated communication.
  • Many students longed for more specific communications based on student demographics, tailored to their individual circumstances.

Recommendations include:

  • Tailored and accessible support mechanisms for students from minoritised and intersectional backgrounds.
  • Adapted approaches to decision-making and governance structures to meet the needs of different crisis stages.
  • Sustainable student support changes made during the pandemic to (re)build the sector, with an explicit focus on equity as core business for identity-conscious higher education institutions.

Read the full report, Recommendations for equitable student support during disruptions to the higher education sector: Lessons from COVID-19 

Read the higher education good practice guide: Equitable student support during times of crisis

This research was conducted under the NCSEHE Research Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Posted 8 March 2022 Posted in General