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Engaging Communities: designing & delivering effectively targeted support to humanitarian entrant students. Student Services – First Year & Retention Team.

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Presentation on theme: "Engaging Communities: designing & delivering effectively targeted support to humanitarian entrant students. Student Services – First Year & Retention Team."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engaging Communities: designing & delivering effectively targeted support to humanitarian entrant students. Student Services – First Year & Retention Team

2 Engaging Communities Authors:Brian Sweeney CALD Program Matthew Hingston CALD Program Presenters:Alison Poot First Year Co-ordinator Jane Rienks Catalyst Program

3 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Setting the Scene

4 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Session Outline Who are they? What do they need from us? Why? What have we done to support them? How have we done it? What have we achieved? What themes have emerged? Is the approach broadly applicable?

5 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Context ~ Who are they? CALD – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Domestic – not International Students Humanitarian Entrants - mostly refugees - trauma & torture - collectivist cultures - priorities are safety, family & education

6 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Context ~ UTAS Client Group UTAS 2007 – more than 500 who identify Mostly African – Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Eritrea…. Also Latin America, Central Asia and the Balkans Client group growing steadily since 2004 and will include significant numbers of Burmese by 2008

7 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team What do they need from us? Cultural Connection & Welcoming Help with ‘welfare’ issues – accommodation, part time employment, finances, health care access… Learning & Skills Support - Computer skills - Information literacy - Language skills - Enhanced foundation learning - Transition to different teaching/learning style - Understanding of university’s expectations

8 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team The most important thing they need is… Acknowledgement of their past and present experiences….. Life of Safety & Certainty Crisis/Trauma Refugee Life Settlement Journey Lifelong redefinition of and search for safety & certainty

9 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team What have we achieved? Successful first year CALD students up from 35% in 2005 to more than 75% in Extensive networks with community service providers. Support of Humanitarian Entrant communities, government agencies, schools, TAFE, UTAS community.

10 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team How have we done it? Profiling to understand client group ~ data, focus groups, critical reflection… Early intervention to influence pathway planning and preparedness ~ outreach, community networks Parallel tutorials ~ content focussed & driven by immediate student needs Cross-cultural workshops & fact sheets 1-to-1 support of academic and general staff Focus on shift to self-sufficiency in university & wider community environments TERROR ~ truth, empathy, respect, reliability, originality & resilience

11 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Themes 1 Shift in process from reactive/generic to early/anticipated/flexible/targeted. Program based on key community partnerships and human connection Core experience of officers – experience of the outsider with freedom to be creative in developing support options for students and staff

12 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Themes 2 Move to independence ~ refugee experience requires dependence on aid workers. Important same dependence not transferred to UTAS staff. Cultural awareness ~ own & others for both ‘hosts’ & ‘newcomers’ is critical in effective interaction Understanding & supporting true settlement is fundamental for effective service design.

13 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Themes 3 The program is underpinned across all of these elements by the need to Engage Communities: - Migrant communities - University staff – general and academic - Service Providers - Broader community - Business community

14 Student Services – First Year & Retention Team Broader applicability Other equity groups ~ officers believe acknowledgement of human commonality and cultural adaptability can be central to service design for Low-SES and Disability students. Well-being ~ holistic nature of program lends itself well to complementing ‘well-being’ approaches to the university experience. Consistent with other UTAS FY approaches like the Catalyst Program.


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