Staff Profile


Career Summary


Anna Bennett is Convenor of the University of Newcastle’s Open Foundation Program, an Open Entry university preparation program which enables people to qualify for entry into degree programs. In 2012, 2,048 students enrolled in the various modes of study available in Open Foundation. Originally modelled on the UK Open University foundations program which started in 1971, Open Foundation commenced as a pilot program in 1974 with 80 students. Almost 40,000 people have participated in Open Foundation at the University of Newcastle as the program reaches its 40th year. Anna has a PhD in Sociology (UNSW) and is interested in empirical research that uses sociological concepts as tools to better understand and describe various social, political and educational phenomena. She draws on Foucault’s methods of enquiry, which are a broad set of qualitative research methods that also enable an understanding of the hermeneutic dimensions of quantitative fields. Current research areas include: studies of discourses of inclusion, equity and participation in higher education policies and practice; the study of identities and subject positions; and notions and implications of neoliberalism.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, 11/05/2001
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Newcastle, 27/04/1995


Research keywords

  • Political Sociology
  • Sociology
  • Sociology of Education

Research expertise

I research and publish in the fields of sociology, the sociology of education and political sociology.


  • English

Fields of Research

160809Sociology Of Education40
169999Studies In Human Society Not Elsewhere Classified10


Administrative expertise

Anna is Program Coordinator of Open Foundation.


Teaching keywords

  • Sociology

Teaching expertise

Anna was Team leader with Dr Erica Southgate (FEDUA) on the recent CTL research grant "Establishing effective and sustainable links between enabling and undergraduate programs by examining the transitions of ELFSC students" (2012).



For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Book (1 outputs)

2012Bennett AK, The Power Paradox: A Toolkit for Analyzing Conflict and Extremism, University Press of America, Lanham, MD, 137 (2012) [A1]

Journal article (2 outputs)

2014Southgate E, Bennett A, 'Excavating widening participation policy in Australian higher education: subject positions, representational effects, emotion', Creative Approaches to Research, 7 21-45 (2014)

Co-authors: Erica Southgate

2012Bennett AK, Hodges BE, Kavanagh KO, Fagan SJ, Hartley JH, Schofield NJ, ''Hard' and 'soft' aspects of learning as investment: Opening up the neo-liberal view of a programme with 'high' levels of attrition', Widening Participation & Lifelong Learning, 14 141-156 (2012) [C1]

Conference (7 outputs)

2013Bennett AK, 'The non-traditional student within the higher education marketplace: an analysis of student expectations of Enabling university programs', NAEEA Conference Program, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne (2013) [E3]
2013Bennett AK, Fagan S, 'Beyond self-doubt: techniques to counter the ┬┐Impostor-Syndrome'', National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia Conference, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne (2013) [E3]
2012Hodges BE, Bedford T, Bennett AK, Hartley JH, Kavanagh KO, Klinger C, et al., 'Enabling retention: Understanding and improving student retention rates in Australian university enabling programs', Conference Handbook. Foundation & Bridging Educators New Zealand Inaugural Conference 2012, Auckland, New Zealand (2012) [E3]
2012Bunn RJ, Bennett AK, Southgate EL, Cooper SA, Kavanagh KO, ''Wow, I didn't know that!' The benefits of taking a collaborative approach to transition experiences of enabling students into Undergraduate Education Programs', Conference Handbook. Foundation & Bridging Educators New Zealand Inaugural Conference 2012, Auckland, New Zealand (2012) [E3]
2012Bennett AK, 'Alternative pathways to higher education in Australia: The importance of enabling and empowerment beyond mainstream conventions', Conference Handbook. Foundation & Bridging Educators New Zealand Inaugural Conference 2012, Auckland, New Zealand (2012) [E3]
2011Bennett AK, Burgess CA, 'Challenges at the cultural interface: The hidden academic cultural curriculum', Proceedings of the 1st International Australasian Conference On Enabling Access To Higher Education, Adelaide, SA (2011) [E1]
2011Bennett AK, 'A case study of perceptions of power: Clubs Australia, pokies and the politics of 'spin'', Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference: Local Lives/Global Networks, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]
Show 4 more

Other (1 outputs)

2013Brosnan C, Southgate E, MacQueen S, Kelly B, Outram S, Rubin M, et al., 'Faculty of education and arts strategic networks and pilot projects scheme', Equity in Elite Degrees: social difference, institutional practice and processes of change (2013)

Report (1 outputs)

2013Bennett AK, Powter D, Goode E, Clark H, 'Program Self Review Report 2013, Open Foundation Program', University of Newcastle, NSW, 32 (2013)

Grants and Funding


Number of grants3
Total funding$71,413

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2014 (2 grants)

Overcoming limiting notions of academic capability: strategies to improve the participation and completion rates of students from non-traditional and low socio-economic backgrounds$47,336
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Special Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Funding Body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Strategic Networks GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2012 (1 grants)

Establishing effective and sustainable links between Enabling and undergraduate programs by examining the transitions of ELFSC students$9,077
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

CTL grantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions0

No Supervisions.


Dr Anna Bennett

Work Phone(02) 4921 5378
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
Academic Division
The University of Newcastle, Australia