Academics and first-year students: collaborating to access success in an unfamiliar university culture

Lawrence, Jill (2001) Academics and first-year students: collaborating to access success in an unfamiliar university culture. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning: The Journal of The Institute for Access Studies and The European Access Network, 3 (3). pp. 4-14. ISSN 1466-6529

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[Abstract]: This article argues that the contemporary Australian university constitutes a new and unfamiliar culture for the increasing numbers and diversity of students accessing it. Traditional approaches have viewed language development and literacy acquisition as key factors in dealing with this diversity, conceptualising disadvantage in terms of scholastic deficits and a lack of academic literacy. Inherent in these approaches is the assumption that there is one mainstream discourse and that languages and literacies other than those of the dominant mainstream represent a deficit or a deficiency on the part of students who do not possess them. An alternative approach, utilising Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and cross-cultural communication theory, re-conceptualises the contemporary university as a dynamic culture, subject to ongoing and rapid change and encompassing a multiplicity of diverse cultures and sub-cultures. The students’ transition to it is then re-positioned as one of gaining familiarity with, engaging and mastering the new culture’s multiple discourses and multi-literacies. This article will argue that the use of key socio-cultural competencies constitutes the means by which students can achieve this familiarity, facilitating their successful transition to university culture. The article will additionally argue that academics also have a responsibility in this process, collaborating with students to help them access and negotiate the unfamiliar discourses.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited with permission of publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2009 03:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: university culture; academics; first-year students
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education

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