In recognition of the importance of this topic, the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) provided a National Teaching Fellowship to A/Professor Sarah O’Shea to further develop and disseminate this research. The Fellowship was awarded over 2015-2016 and was entitled:
“Engaging Families to Engage Students": Forging productive partnerships with families to assist first in family students navigate their higher education journey.
In summary, the Fellowship further investigated ways to engage effectively with first-in-family university students and their family/community members. This was largely in recognition that successful student access and retention are fundamental to the higher education environment. However, university attrition rates remain alarmingly high, particularly amongst students who are first in their family to attend university. The Fellowship has been working with outreach practitioners to design, implement and evaluate strategies targeted at engaging FiF learners and significant others. A number of online tools are under development as well as additional resources for the site, please see links below:
I established the First in Family Blog to continue conversations around how higher education institutions can best support and engage FiF students. The blog endeavours to work through ideas and strategies for fostering meaningful connections with the family / community of FiF learners as they transition into the university environment
Here is the poster which was presented at the conference held in April, which provides an overview of the Fellowship and activities to date (pdf).