UniSA Case Studies

Case study: UniSA College

unisa-logoThe [xe] project aims to understand how Australian universities are developing initiatives to improve Higher Education study pathways for Indigenous students in the disciplines underpinned by science and mathematics.

To meet this aim the University of South Australia has undertaken research using a case study approach to examine 6 university exemplars.

One of the initiatives studied was the University of South Australia College.


Core features Engagement strategy: Multiple strategies. Alternative pathway to University. Collaboration with schools to co-design  targeted STEM programs; workshops on specific STEM themes; STEM tutorial program
Student catchment: Primarily northern and western suburbs of Adelaide
Age-group: STEM engagement strategies target Years 10, 11, 12
Funding source: HEPPP funding
Outcomes UniSA College is establishing an Indigenous Participation Pathways Program in Mt Gambier, Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, and for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankkunytjatjara (APY) Lands students as a new way of delivering Foundation Studies. Introduced the AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) program, and in 2015 there were 350 student mentors.
Strengths Underpinned by a University-wide equity strategy. Focus on engaging with groups who are under-represented at university. Enrichment program for secondary Mathematics/Science teachers to build capacity. Year 12 STEM Tutorial Program: free revision programs in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics Studies, and Biology offered to students from low SES schools. Links developed with the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy, using sport to engage Indigenous youth with mathematics and science.
Challenges Sustainability post-HEPPP funding.

From the report:

The UniSA Connect team engages with secondary schools and the community to inspire further study and educational attainment, particular in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and career development.

One of the key activities of the UniSA Connect team has been developing enrichment programs that consist of two-hour UniSA College workshops, or one-day or two-day programs for students. Examples are workshops on geospatial science, physics, and 3D printers.

The UniSA College provides an exemplar of an equity strategy that includes the following elements:

* Offers one of the last truly open access Foundation Studies program in Australia which provides entry into pre-university preparation courses and then into a range of undergraduate degrees including STEM courses.

* Provides a platform for offering professional development for teachers. UniSA College has prioritised STEM and hence has multiple projects with mathematics and science teachers.

* Provides introductory events for prospective students including career awareness, enrichment activities on specific-STEM themes, and provides support for UniSA’s version of the ‘AIME Program’ (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) with the extra support from the ‘Deadly Alumni’.

* Facilitates and supports the development of equity initiatives with schools and Divisions and especially with those responsible for STEM courses.

Full report: Strengthening Indigenous Participation and Practice in STEM: University Initiatives for Equity and Excellence (PDF) >>

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