The University of Newcastle (UON) is proud of its reputation for being an institution not only of excellence but also one that embraces equity. Through the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE), the University is committed to developing an agenda that brings equity practice and research together, and in doing so, provides a robust suite of multidisciplinary research and practice to offer leadership in equity both nationally and internationally.
CEEHE is also committed to developing innovative methodologies for equity research and practice that reshape and impact educational systems in Australia and internationally. This highly collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to research will have a significant impact on how universities attract, retain and nurture students from diverse backgrounds. The outcome will be the creation of systems and practices that will provide new ways of working with students and communities from historically under-represented backgrounds to support access to and participation in higher education and lifelong learning.
CEEHE brings together research, evaluation, theory and practice in continual conversation because one of our guiding principles is that equity practice should be informed by research, and equity research should be informed by practice. CEEHE fosters this dialogue by drawing on the notion of ‘praxis’, an approach that brings theory and practice together in cycles of reflection-action and action-reflection.
The dialogic relationship between critical reflection and critical action is reflected in the collaborative and participatory ways of working that CEEHE encourages. A process of ongoing exchange helps sensitise participants to the multiple layers, contexts and challenges that characterise the field of equity in higher education. These methods help us to question and disrupt entrenched and historical inequalities that are often sustained by taken-for-granted assumptions.
Through this distinctive Praxis-based framework, CEEHE provides spaces for critical reflection (reflexivity) to generate the highest quality research-informed equity practices and in doing so to create sustainable equity frameworks.
Since its establishment in late 2014, CEEHE has played an instrumental role in delivering research outcomes that benefit the long-term strength of UON and the sector in delivering education to a diverse range of students.
We are committed to developing strong international links and partnerships through initiatives such as hosting international leading scholars, establishing the International Network on Gender, Social Justice and Praxis, as well as producing significant reports with national and international impact.
Fostering the development of early and mid-career researchers is of particular importance to CEEHE. We have introduced a number of grant schemes that focus on supporting early career researchers (ECR's) and widening participation (WP) practitioners build a highly regarded body of work. These include the establishment of a national writing program for WP practitioners and funding several commissioned projects to explore higher education issues in relation to questions of student equity.
CEEHE continues to develop and implement research informed widening participation programs to increase the educational outcomes for our region.
The principles that guide the work of CEEHE include:
- Dialogic and research-informed approaches
- Participatory methodologies and approaches
- Redistribution of pedagogical opportunities, resources and materials
- Parity of participation and representation
- Recognition of and respect for difference
- Inclusion and reciprocity
- Critical reflection (reflexivity)
- Education for social justice and global well-being