Innovation in higher education

Management HQ

We conduct research on innovation in higher education, covering a range of topics including access to higher education, graduate success and industry engagement, and effective developments in learning and teaching practice.

All staff in the Faculty of Business and Law are encouraged to engage in ‘innovation and scholarship of learning and teaching’ activities as part of their academic work. Recent projects have focused on connectivist learning, digital resilience and capacity building, and have extended research on graduate employability. Our researchers publish in a range of peer-reviewed journals and deliver conference presentations at leading events. They have made a sustained contribution to Curtin’s reputation for innovation in higher education and to scholarship about the connections between pedagogy, assessment and student outcomes.

We also host the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE). NCSEHE is a research and policy centre funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment. It provides national leadership on student equity in higher education, connecting research, policy and practice to improve higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged people. One of the key functions of NCSEHE is to identify and address research gaps concerning student equity in higher education. The centre funds and conducts research projects to shape progressive change in higher education, exploring novel and innovative approaches to student equity within the evolving worlds of work and education.

Key projects

Ameliorating disadvantage: Creating accessible, efficacious and equitable careers and study information for low SES students Researchers: Prof. Dawn Bennett (Humanities), Prof. Michael Dockery, Dr Jane Coffey, Dr Sherry Bawa

This project was commissioned by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE). It addresses the higher rates of attrition and deferral, and poorer graduate employment outcomes, for students from disadvantaged groups, including low SES Indigenous, regional and remote students. By identifying gaps in service provision, it has the potential to improve low socioeconomic status (SES) students’ access to, and the usefulness of, information about higher education study options, pathways and careers. The project will create a unique understanding of the accessibility and efficacy of school-based career counselling services, and will provide recommendations for policy, service design and delivery.

Embedding social leadership competencies for employability Researchers: A/Prof. Kantha Dayaram, Prof. Reena Tiwari (Humanities), Prof. Linley Lord (Curtin Singapore), Prof. Dawn Bennett (Humanities) & A/Prof. Kerry Pedigo

Leadership capability is recognised globally as a priority graduate attribute. This project aims to strengthen participating students’ social leadership capability through the enhancement of social engagement skills. The project’s objectives include: 1) widening students’ access to social leadership development by embedding social leadership competencies into the curriculum; 2) utilising authentic learning pedagogies and assessments that simulate experiential reflective learning experiences through which students can make connections between learning and work; and 3) developing resources to enable a greater uptake across a range of disciplines. Overall, the project addresses the need for a more systematic approach to sustainable employability education within higher education thinking and practice.

Widening regional and remote participation: Interrogating the impact of outreach programs across Queensland Researchers: Prof. Sue Trinidad, Dr Nadine Zacharias, Dr Paul Koshy, Prof. Maria Raciti, Dr Diane Costello, Dr Ian Li (UWA), Mr Geoffrey Mitchell (Queensland Department of Education).

This project, funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), investigated the impact of outreach activities on participation in higher education. Surveying schools serving low socioeconomic status (SES) communities in Queensland, the project examined how participation programs delivered in urban and regional schools affected the likelihood of students applying for university. It found that when widening participation programs were fully implemented and sustained in schools by nearby universities, application numbers increased. The outcomes were less positive when insufficient resourcing led to programs not being maintained, which was more likely in regional and remote schools.