“My sphere of influence is small but my awareness has been raised and I can respond more appropriately to possible FiF learners”
(Participant: OLT Fellowship Workshop)
In February 2015 we held the inaugural First-in-Family Forum at University of Wollongong, the Forum attracted 113 participants from over nineteen universities across Australia. At the culmination of the Forum, attendees were asked to develop one underpinning principle that could inform support offered to first-in-family learners. From this initial consultation, nine principles were developed and made available on the First-in-Family website.
These principles were revisited throughout 2015-2016, with stakeholders being invited to both contribute and also provide feedback on the evolving set of principles. The final iteration includes seven principles and suggested strategies for enacting these. Importantly, the principles and strategies are inclusively focused and reference the term family in its broadest sense. Simply, family is conceived as anyone who is regarded as being significant to the learner. There is no assumption that is a blood relative or a partner, but instead, this expression is used to embody what ‘the individual perceives to be family’.
As the OLT Fellowship moves into the next phase of its program of activities, the focus will now shift to exploring the ways that these principles/strategies can actually be enacted. Such enactment will need to be contextualised to the particular needs of sites and so I will work closely with a number of institutions in this regard. Developing these principles is an evolving process, so these seven principles should be not be regarded as a static inventory but rather a fluid and emerging interactive map of how we might engage with this cohort and their significant others.
Hope to see you there,