View Source 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

Centre of Excellence for

About us

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) undertakes interdisciplinary, international and collaborative research designed to create the highest standards in equity practice locally, nationally and globally.  CEEHE combines the University of Newcastle's extensive experience of equity initiatives locally with the widely acknowledged research expertise of its staff in this field to offer global leadership.


The University of Newcastle is deeply committed to providing global leadership in the field of equity in higher education, informed by its international and interdisciplinary research profile and agenda.

This commitment is rooted in its unique history of providing transformative higher educational opportunities to students from historically underrepresented groups.

A key principle guiding CEEHE is that access to and participation in higher education of the highest quality is one of the most powerful ways for a nation to ensure social equity, cultural cohesion and respect for difference, economic stability and democratic participation.


CEEHE is a unique, collaborative and interdisciplinary 'research hub' that:

  • Drives the research agenda in its field and has established a leading international profile and strategic partnerships related to access and participation through CEEHE's Global Innovation Chairs of Equity;
  • Provides a robust suite of multidisciplinary, cutting edge research programs to provide leadership in equity globally;
  • Develops innovative methodologies for equity research and practice that reshape and impact educational systems in Australia and internationally;
  • Attracts equity scholars of international standing through a 'Visiting Scholars' Program that fosters collaboration and develops high quality equity practices;
  • Provides mobility opportunities for our leading researchers in the field of equitable higher education to share their knowledge with others around the world;
  • Facilitates seminars and workshops that address complex challenges facing the higher education sector in relation to equity.

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 from historically under-represented backgrounds, commencing in primary school, and supporting students through to higher education as lifelong learners.

themes of research

The Centre's four themes of research came from discussions with academics and practitioners from across the University. The research themes 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.

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.

Equity Ambassador: Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta

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'.

Equity Ambassador: Dr Liam Phelan

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.

Equity Ambassador: Dr Tamara Blakemore

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'.

Equity Ambassador: Dr Sara Motta