The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

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You are reading: New research — Supporting and engaging students through COVID-19

A newly-released international study explored the strategies employed to support students to remain engaged during COVID-19 and how these were perceived by student groups, particularly those from minoritised and intersectional backgrounds.

The research team, led by Dr Lucy Mercer-Mapstone from the University of Sydney surveyed students from 12 universities from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Survey findings included:

  • It was often unclear how students could access support.
  • Mass communications which were impersonal made students feel unseen and undervalued.
  • Asset-oriented communication was more positively received than deficit-orientated communication.
  • Many students longed for more specific communications based on student demographics, tailored to their individual circumstances.

Recommendations include:

  • Tailored and accessible support mechanisms for students from minoritised and intersectional backgrounds.
  • Adapted approaches to decision-making and governance structures to meet the needs of different crisis stages.
  • Sustainable student support changes made during the pandemic to (re)build the sector, with an explicit focus on equity as core business for identity-conscious higher education institutions.

Read the full report, Recommendations for equitable student support during disruptions to the higher education sector: Lessons from COVID-19 

Read the higher education good practice guide: Equitable student support during times of crisis


This research was conducted under the NCSEHE Research Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.