The University of Newcastle, Australia


Monday, 27 April 2015

International collaborations were still strengthened within the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education despite the cancellation of a Global Forum last week.

Representatives from UON and SiS Catalyst
After extreme weather in the Hunter resulted in the cancellation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Global Forum and Public Lecture, leading academics and practitioners from the University of Newcastle met with representatives of the SiS Catalyst Project to discuss the importance of including the voices of young people when developing widening participation strategies.

SiS Catalyst was a four-year project funded by the European Commission established to foster and support the engagement of children in decision-making processes that will shape their futures.

Tricia Jenkins and Stephanie McCloskey from SiS Catalyst visited Newcastle with the intention to facilitate a three-day Global STEM Forum organised by the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) that was designed to bring together students, educators and industry to form an action plan addressing the challenges of equitable access to post-secondary STEM education.

While the Forum has been temporarily postponed, leading representatives from this field came together for a meeting to share knowledge in the area of widening participation and to discuss findings from the SiS Catalyst project, including CEEHE Co-Director Professor Penny Jane Burke and Head of the School Education, Professor John Fischetti.

Belinda Munn, Associate Director of the CEEHE stated while it was disappointing the Forum was cancelled, it was still beneficial for practitioners to meet and share information in the field of widening participation.

"One of the aims of the CEEHE is to build strong international networks and collaborations amongst academics and practitioners, so it was wonderful that despite the weather we were still able to spend time with Tricia and Stephanie," said Belinda. 

"The University of Newcastle has a strong commitment to including and valuing the voices of our community members, especially young people, in all of our widening participation work, so it was great to be able to compare our experiences with that of the SisCataylst project and reflect on our approaches," she added.

There are plans to reschedule the Global STEM Forum in the coming months.

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