Thursday, 21 August 2014

eResource: Student Transition in Higher Education

Good practice report: Student transition in higher education from Uni. of Southern Queensland on Vimeo.

Student Transition in Higher Education Report

Other Publications:

Gale, T. & Parker, S. (2014). Navigating change: a typology of student transitions in Australian higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 39(5), pp. 734-753

Content and Development of the eResource 

This Good Practice Report reviews 14 completed projects and five fellowships funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) between 2006 and 2010, and identified by the ALTC as contributing to an understanding of student transition into HE. Five then-current projects (three projects and two fellowships) are also identified and summarised although, given their in-progress status, they were not analysed in the Report.
The Report includes a one-page summary of each ALTC project and fellowship. These identify and analyse the findings of, and resources for, teaching and learning in HE produced by the ALTC projects and fellowships, particularly in relation to student transition. To enable a reading across these, each project/fellowship is summarised in six sections: (1) overview; (2) design, methodology; (3) findings, resources, outcomes; (4) dissemination; (5) implications for student transition into higher education; and (6) project report online availability. Sections three and five are particularly pertinent to the interests of this Report.


Emerging from this analysis of ALTC projects and of the international literature are three broad conceptions of student transition: as induction (T1), development (T2), and becoming (T3). These categories are not explicitly named in the literature. Rather they represent Gale and Parker’s analysis of existing research and program description.
The following recommendations for further development or work in the field of student transition into HE are informed by the review of the national and international research literature (including work completed as part of the ALTC projects and fellowships). The recommendations largely mirror the review’s conclusions regarding this literature.
Gale and Parker recommend that future research and practice in the field of student transition in higher education should:
  1. Declare how transition is defined. This should be an explicit statement that identifies how transition is defined within the project/program.
  2. Draw on related fields and bodies of knowledge. This should include drawing on the extensive research literature from related fields, particularly in relation to youth and life transitions and education and social theory.
  3. Foreground students’ lived reality.  Institutional and/or systemic interests should not dominate research and practice. 
  4. Broaden the scope of investigation. Adding to the corpus of investigations on the full range of ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ transitions should be an integral part of the research and/or practice.

Report Authors

Professor Trevor Gale 
Professor Trevor Gale is a critical sociologist of education, with research interests in policy and social justice, particularly in the fields of schooling and higher education.
He has an international reputation for his monographs Just Schooling (OUP 2000) and Engaging Teachers (OUP 2003), co-authored with Kathleen Densmore, and for his Foucauldian theorization of policy methodology. His more recent conception of student equity in terms of ‘mobility’, ‘aspiration’ and ‘voice’ (with Sam Sellar) and his typology of student transition (with Stephen Parker), have reframed the problem of social inclusion in higher education.
Prior to taking up his current position at Deakin University, Professor Gale was the founding director of Australia’s National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (2008-2011), a research centre established and funded by the Australian Government. While there he led the government-commissioned national review of university outreach programs, reported in Interventions Early in School (2010), which now informs inter/national policy and practice in the field.
Professor Gale is Chief Investigator on two current Australian Research Council (ARC) research projects: one focused on secondary school student aspirations in Melbourne’s western suburbs; the other on the social justice dispositions of teachers in advantaged and disadvantaged secondary schools.
He is a past president of the Australian Association for Research In Education (AARE) and the founding editor of Critical Studies in Education. He is also a co-founding editor of the book series, Education Policy and Social Inequality.

Dr Stephen Parker 
Dr Stephen Parker is Research Fellow at Deakin University with interests in social justice, public policy, social and political theory and sociology. He works closely with Professor Trevor Gale on several research projects related to these interests, in areas of schooling and higher education. His substantive position is as a Research Fellow on the Australian Research Council research project: Social justice dispositions informing teachers’ pedagogy in advantaged and disadvantaged secondary schools.
From 2008-2012, Stephen was a researcher in Australia’s National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) where he contributed to a number of key projects including an ALTC-commissioned report on student transitions to higher education, as well as research on current higher education policy and student aspirations. He is also a co-author of the Australian Government-funded Interventions Early in School report (Gale et al. 2010).
Prior to working at the NCSEHE, he was engaged in research on the inequities of social security policy, housing and homelessness and published in those areas. In 2011 he completed his PhD entitled Theorising Human Rights: Foundations and Their Influence at the University of South Australia. In September 2012, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy, University of Roehampton in London, UK.

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