The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education will ensure that the University continues to be a leader in the region and the world in approaches to closing the gap between equity related policy and practice and also raise awareness and understanding of the frameworks and activities that produce priority outcomes.
The University of Newcastle understands that access to the transformative effects of education is one of the most effective ways for a nation to enhance social mobility, cultural cohesion, and economic productivity. We build upon our existing reputation as a national leader in equity and access in higher education to serve as a national and international hub for equity-focused research, practice, and partnerships.
The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education is a collaborative, multidisciplinary, practice-orientated research hub with a focus on equity of access, participation and success. It aims to identify and build on exemplars of good practice and develop datasets based on demonstrated success indicators to inform evidence-based strategies, interventions, and policy that support the dissemination of best-practice nationally and world-wide.
ROLE OF THE CENTRE
The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education helps ensure that the University continues to be a leader in the region and the world in approaches to closing the gap between equity related policy and practice and also raise awareness and understanding of the frameworks and activities that produce priority outcomes.
The Centre is working to:
- Develop a strong evidence base to inform and evaluate policy frameworks and practice in relation to equity in higher education;
- Conduct research and evaluate practice in areas related to access, participation, and success, directed by institutional capacity and national and international priorities;
- Develop a highly collaborative approach to research to ensure that outcomes are appropriate and strong national and international partnerships are maintained;
- Translate learnings into advice and resources for decision makers and practitioners that will also inform the development of a forward research plan;
- Establish and maintain a highly visible national and international presence that will host and facilitate workshops, symposia and seminars on research and evidence-based practice.
themes of research
A Roundtable Discussion Session in May 2014 brought together academics and practitioners from across the University who have an interest in progressing research in excellence and equity. It is envisaged that the research themes emerging from these discussions will foster interdisciplinary, innovative and collaborative research programs and projects. In recognition that research into matters of equity involves complex and evolving social issues, research programs and projects may contain elements of more than one of the broad themes.
- Culture and Agency
This theme encompasses research and practice addressing equity in the broader cultural context, including issues of cultural competency, dominant discourses in higher education and education more broadly, diversity and inclusion, and Indigenous students. Key focus areas may include educational aspiration, attainment and identify information across educational contexts including schooling, enabling programs, TAFE, higher education and lifelong learning.
- Access and Student Experience
This theme encompasses research and practice exploring the student experience in higher education, including issues of access, retention and success, as well as the role of academic and digital literacies in equity. It also explores student experiences of pedagogical and academic practices in relation to access, transitions and 'belonging'.
- Community Wellbeing
This theme explores the role of higher education in contributing to equity and inclusion, the wider benefits of education to society at large and expands the research, evidence base and evaluation of community outreach and engagement projects. This theme also includes a broader conceptualization of pedagogy in relation to wider community-oriented projects of social justice.
- Governance, Policy and Practice
This theme explores the social and economic implications of various national educational policies over time for students, families, communities and society, as well as an evaluation of specific higher education policies and schemes and their impact on higher education access and attainment. It will explore the impact of higher education policy reform and globalization on equity, diversity and inclusion and the potential tensions between the aspirations and discourses of 'excellence' and 'equity'.