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All divisions of the University are actively involved with improving equity and accessibility in higher education. Below is a snapshot of research in this field that has been carried out across numerous divisions, faculties and centres of the University of Newcastle.

The Aspirations Longitudinal Study is a significant four-year research project that is the first of its kind to seek a comprehensive insight into the factors that shape the career and educational aspirations of students in the middle years of schooling. 

The project has attracted more than $1m in funding from the Australian Research Council and the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC). The research team, led by Professor Jenny Gore, will track children from 85 state schools to investigate how their aspirations develop or change over time.

This project received almost $70,000 in 2014 by the National Centre for Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University. Over the next year it will examine the impact schools have on a student's decision and aspirations about going to university. 

Carried out by the Faculty of Education and Arts, the project will investigate subject selection, teachers and teaching as well as specific educational and career interventions. Interviews with current Year 11 students, their parents and teachers will be carried out along with interviews of former students from the same schools now at university. The case studies produced will be used to validate and form narratives of the impact of school, taking into account socio-economic status (SES), Aboriginality, rurality and gender. 

This study draws from a 2012-2015 ARC Linkage study of students' educational and career aspirations from Year 3 to Year 12. The Choosing University study focuses on low SES and other marginalised students within the 2014 Aspirations Study Year 11 cohort of approximately 1200 students. At this point in schooling planning for the transition to tertiary education typically solidifies. 

The lead Chief Investigator is Professor Jenny Gore along with Chief Investigators Dr Kath HolmesProfessor Max Smith, and Associate Investigators Andrew Lyell and Hywel Ellis.

The University of Newcastle has secured almost $300,000 in funding as part of a $2.2 million collaborative grant from the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) for research into teacher enrichment up until 2016.

Inspiring Mathematics and Science in Teacher Education (IMSTE) aims to develop new interdisciplinary methods to improve mathematics and science training at university for potential teachers. The project hopes to enhance the quality of teaching in these areas and consequently increase student understanding and aspirations around science and mathematics.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with University of Queensland (lead), James Cook University, the University of Sydney, the University of Wollongong, the University of Newcastle (UoN) and the University of Tasmania.

The key project contact is Maureen Townley Jones whose team of UoN researchers include Dr Kathryn Holmes, Dr Peter HowleyDr Judy-Anne Osborn and Dr Elena Prieto.