Student retention, particularly first year undergraduates, is a key concern in Australian universities as it has an implication on universities’ financial health. This paper contends that the development of methodologies for communicative agendas that respect student diversity and create spaces for open-ended dialogue in the tradition of Gadamer’s proposals is a worthwhile consideration in supporting first year student retention and engagement in university study. It discusses an online induction in core academic skills (iCAS) program for about 400 first year Education undergraduates in a university in regional Australia. Given the diversity in sociocultural and academic backgrounds of the student cohort, the expertise that contributed to iCAS crossed disciplinary and traditional boundaries, and it was this collaboration that enabled the design of an empathetic, inclusive and holistic support to the development of students’ academic skills and the promotion of intellectual well-being in relation to their university endeavours. In addition, in this paper we ask how we might open spaces for more equitable communication wherein self-evaluative awareness is promoted for learners and educators equally. With the recognition that there is urgent need for the development of programs and strategies that embrace diverse learner cohorts and promote self-reliance, we look at the role of personal trust in learner-educator relationships in the development of first year university learners.
|Keywords:||Pedagogical Relationships, Personal Trust, Communities, Well-Being, Academic Learning|
Researcher, School of Education , School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Lecturer, School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Lecturer, School of Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Faculty Librarian, University Services Division, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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