ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STUDENTS’ SUCCESS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: the role of relational factors.
I am interested in looking at Indigenous students and their transition to university. In my research I want to identify factors that affect this transition (positive and negative), and consider appropriate strategies and interventions to facilitate students' achieving academic success. I also want to identify the cultural factors most beneficial for student inclusion and success, especially where they may already be a factor within the university environment to date. While this is not a new area of research in Australia, it is an essential one, given that retention rates for Indigenous students remain significantly lower than for non-Indigenous student. Education has been identified as a key driver for closing the Gap, and I hope my research can shed further light on how we can best achieve this outcome. For my research, qualitative data is being gathered to support and clarify quantitative findings, and to provide rich, detailed ideographic information about this issue. It will help me evaluate and explain the barriers facing Indigenous students when they enter tertiary education, and identify factors that may help address these barriers. I am hoping to use my findings to develop a theoretical explanation of issues facing Indigenous students transitioning to university, as no such theoretical explanation currently exists.
Being first in my family to attend university, I faced many challenges when transitioning to academic life. I persevered, and met many students in similar situations over the course of my undergraduate degree. Having come from an Indigenous background seeing the challenges my peers faced, and knowing first-hand how hard navigating academic life could be, I identified the importance of this transition from community to university as being vital to student retention and academic success.
While completing my Masters, I began developing my thoughts on how this issue could be explored from a research perspective in order to identify pathways that may enable greater success for future Indigenous students transitioning to university.
AASW- Australian Association of Social Workers
IAHA- Indigenous Allied Health Australia
IASP- Indigenous Academic Success Program: casual staff for the past 7 and half years