Issue 8
Monday, 23 May 2016
Charles Darwin University
Professor Steve Larkin : “Nationally competitive on issues of student equity”
Professor Steve Larkin : “Nationally competitive on issues of student equity”

Double delight with student equity research grants

By Patrick Nelson

Charles Darwin University has won two research grants with a combined value of $77,000 to fund projects that seek to boost Indigenous student enrolments.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership Professor Steve Larkin said it was the first time his office had been successful in securing funding from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

“Just 10 of 44 bids from around the country were successful and for CDU to have two of them is a fantastic achievement for a young regional university,” Professor Larkin said.

“This suggests we are nationally competitive on issues of student equity in higher education and are well placed to build on this further.”

Professor Larkin said one of the projects would seek to identify strategies for improving student transitions from vocational courses to higher education.

“The VET to higher education pathway is largely unexplored in Indigenous education but with less than 5 per cent of Indigenous students making such a transition, it is an area that we are determined to grow,” he said.

“This is crucial for rural and remote Indigenous students who have completed a VET qualification.”

Professor Larkin said the second project would focus on stories of Indigenous graduates who also had completed a higher education course.

“Our researchers will look for evidence of the most effective ways to support Indigenous higher education students.

“There have been many ‘small success’ stories of Indigenous individuals who have completed higher education, but these stories are largely absent from the literature, which this project seeks to redress.”

The two successful bids were:

Identifying strategies for improving VET to higher education transitions for Indigenous learners, $40,000. This will be led by Associate Professor James Smith and reflects a partnership with Swinburne University.

Rippling stories of success: Indigenous students’ positive higher education experiences, $37,200. This will be led by Dr Jack Frawley.