Visiting delegation from Bogotá: supporting students from low SES backgrounds in accessing and succeeding at university
On 16 November, a group of visiting academics from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá met with NCSEHE Senior Research Fellow Nadine Zacharias and colleagues to learn about Australian approaches to the design and implementation of student equity programs.
The Pontificia Universidad contingent included Dr Alejandra Gonzalez Correal (Director, Electronics Engineering Program), David Barrera (Director, Industrial Engineering Program), and Maria Patricia León (Director, Civil Engineering Program).
Melbourne-based university representatives Elizabeth Capp (University of Melbourne), Elka Mallon (Monash University), Lara Rafferty (RMIT University), and Pam Pritchard (Deakin University) joined the day’s discussion to provide a nuanced picture of what kind of approaches are implemented across the different institutions.
“It was a terrific opportunity for both the group from Bogotá and from Melbourne to learn about the challenges faced by students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, and the institutions which support them, in the context of different national policy approaches and institutional realities. The (proposed) solutions need to be crafted within these policy and institutional contexts and it was clear that, while some challenges and approaches seem to work universally well (for example, peer mentoring), others have to be highly targeted and do not seem to easily translate into a different national context.
I was really taken by Patricia’s question on how we had achieved such a collaborative culture among universities where we can meet and share our approaches and learn from each other. As we are heading to Brisbane for the EPHEA conference, that is truly something to cherish and celebrate.”