Decreasing attrition while increasing diversity: connections and contradictions in transforming marginalisation in an Australian contemporary university

Bowser, Don and Danaher, Patrick Alan and Somasundaram, Jay (2006) Decreasing attrition while increasing diversity: connections and contradictions in transforming marginalisation in an Australian contemporary university. In: Doctrina perpetua: brokering change, promoting innovation and transforming marginalisation in university learning and teaching. Post Pressed, Teneriffe, Qld, pp. 220-243. ISBN 1 876682 93 0

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This chapter uses the current focus on universities’ efforts to decrease student attrition as a lens to explore the connections and contradictions faced by those same universities as they increase diversity and aspire to transform marginalisation. The chapter draws on statistical data relating to Australian university students generally and to Central Queensland University (CQU) students specifically to illustrate some of the challenges and opportunities faced by universities as they bring their own institutional strategies into alignment at the macro level with government socioeconomic policy and at
the micro level with the individual goals and aspirations of students and other stakeholders.

Findings presented in the chapter support the argument that CQU specifically and the Australian higher education sector more broadly have contributed to maximising the educational outcomes, and hence to transforming the marginalisation, of some minority groups, such as students
from non-English speaking backgrounds and some residents of regional communities. On the other hand, relatively high attrition rates remain the norm for other groups, such as Indigenous students, those from isolated
areas and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and for some groups not generally associated with minorities. For these groups, and for universities striving to increase their diversity by including such groups in
their student cohorts, the groups’ marginalisation remains untransformed.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Author retains copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:55
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2016 02:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, Central Queensland University, doctrina perpetua, student attrition, student diversity, student retention, transforming marginalisation
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences

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