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You are reading: Building Legacy and Capacity Workshop Four: Equity 2030 — A long-term strategic vision for student equity in higher education

Event information

The final workshop in the Building Legacy and Capacity series, co-facilitated by Matt Brett (NCSEHE and La Trobe University) and Nadine Zacharias (NCSEHE), with guest presenter Sally Kift (Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows), put a spotlight on the long-term strategic vision for student equity in higher education.

Each of the NCSEHE Equity Fellows have brought a fresh perspective to the challenges associated with equity in higher education, spanning equity groups; pedagogy; evaluation; institutional practice; and accountability. The issues and challenges surfaced by each of the Fellows can, at least in part, be attributed to the inability of existing policy frameworks to reimagine the vision for student equity as the higher education system has expanded and evolved.

The challenges of expanding higher education systems were well described by Martin Trow in his typology of elite, mass and universal participation. Australia is at the cusp of universal participation. Over 50 per cent of the school leaver cohort now access tertiary education (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2016 Table Builder). For a small number of communities, 100 per cent of school leavers were enrolled at university at the age of 19 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2016 Table Builder).

It is timely to critically assess whether the strategic vision for equity in higher education is fit for purpose for both the current day, let alone for the future development of a system that will educate a rising share of the population.

In examining the strategic vision for equity in Australian higher education, this workshop brought together a group of invited subject matter experts coming at the topic from different perspectives, including:

  • researchers who have provided thought leadership in their work into equity in Australian higher education
  • equity practitioners at the cutting edge of practice in advancing equity in Australian higher education
  • policymakers who have positional responsibility for equity issues within government
  • policy influencers who shape policy through leadership roles, research and/or practice.

The workshop was structured around high-level questions which framed the group discussion:

  • What are we trying to achieve? What does effective equity policy, practice and research look like over the long term?
  • What do we know about the nature of the problem? How does the current policy framework align with this long-term objective?
  • How do current practice and research inform the new vision?
  • Do there need to be different principles of practice going forward?
  • How could the Australian Government better support student outcomes and effective practice and research?
  • Why is there relative inertia in progressing a strategic research agenda?

The outcomes of the discussion will be shared widely across the sector, including via a webinar on 28 June, an ‘Equity 2030 Discussion Paper’ that articulates a long-term vision for student equity and implications for research, policy and practice, and professional illustrations. All resources will be made available here on the NCSEHE website. 

Please note: due to the format of this workshop series, attendance was by invitation only.

Expert Panel Members

Matt Brett — NCSEHE 2017 Equity Fellow and 2018 Visiting Research Fellow; Acting Director Planning and Institutional Performance; Senior Manager Higher Education Policy Planning and Governance, La Trobe University.

Penny Jane Burke — Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE); Global Innovation Chair of Equity, the University of Newcastle.

Daniel Edwards — Principal Research Fellow, Tertiary Education research program, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

Kate Flynn — (Acting) Senior Equity Officer – Widening Participation, Equity and Student Couselling Department, CQUniversity

Amanda Franzi — Director for Equity Policy, Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Kim Grey — Evaluation Manager, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Sally Kift — NCSEHE 2018 Visiting Fellow; President, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF).

Kerri-Lee Krause — Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), La Trobe University.

Michael Luckman — Senior Research Officer, Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research, La Trobe University.

Lin Martin — Commissioner, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA); Honorary Senior Fellow, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Peter Noonan  — Professor of Tertiary Education Policy, Mitchell Institute.

Gabrielle O’Brien — President, Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia Assoc Inc (EPHEA); Manager, Student Diversity & Inclusion, Griffith University.

Sarah O’Shea — NCSEHE 2018 Adjunct Fellow; Associate Professor in Adult, Vocational and Higher Education, University of Wollongong.

Maria Raciti — NCSEHE 2018 Research Fellow; Co-leader Indigenous Studies Research Theme; Associate Professor, Marketing, University of the Sunshine Coast.

James Smith — NCSEHE 2017 Equity Fellow; NCSEHE 2018 Adjunct Fellow; Father Frank Flynn Fellow (Harm Minimisation), Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division, Menzies School of Health Research.

Cathy Stone — NCSEHE 2018 Adjunct Fellow; Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Science, The University of Newcastle.

Wojtek Tomaszewski — Group Leader, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.

Karen Treloar — Director, Engagement Group, TEQSA.

Nadine Zacharias — NCSEHE Senior Research Fellow

About the Building Legacy and Capacity Workshop Series

The Building Legacy and Capacity Workshop Series is a strategic initiative by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) to explore in depth four topics chosen from the ‘Ten Conversations’ conducted during the NCSEHE Forum in November 2016. This new strategy aims to further extend the NCSEHE’s capacity in synthesising, codifying and disseminating learnings from equity research and practice and use them to inform future initiatives, studies and policy.

The objectives of the workshops are to:

  • define a collective knowledge base informed by research and practice
  • engage in strategic and action planning to guide institutional practice and future research
  • develop evidence-informed policy advice.

Each workshop consists of a small group of about 10 invited participants—including researchers, practitioners, policymakers and community partners—who contribute their insights as subject matter experts.

Previous Building Legacy and Capacity workshops:

Workshop One: Career development for students in low SES or regional/remote high schools

Workshop Two: Higher education participation and completion of regional and remote students

Workshop Three: Indigenous Perspectives on Evaluation in Indigenous Higher Education