The Zone: A Guide to Developing Supports for First Year Student Success

Project report


Davis, Charmaine, McGovern, Mary, Green, Orie, Wood, Sylwia and Kealey, Julianne. 2019. The Zone: A Guide to Developing Supports for First Year Student Success. Toowoomba, Australia. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

The Zone: A Guide to Developing Supports for First Year Student Success

Report TypeProject report
AuthorsDavis, Charmaine (Author), McGovern, Mary (Author), Green, Orie (Author), Wood, Sylwia (Author) and Kealey, Julianne (Author)
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Number of Pages29
Year2019
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationToowoomba, Australia
Abstract

Welcome to The Zone: A guide to developing supports for first-year student success. This guide describes the Open Access College’s student support strategy, first trialled in 2018, aimed at supporting its Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) students to make a successful transition into tertiary study. The project was supported through a 2018 Learning and Teaching Commissioned Project grant. TPP is an enabling program aligned with Australia’s widening participation agenda. The program provides preparation for and access to tertiary education for students who would otherwise be excluded from university study. Concerns about high levels of attrition, characteristic of enabling programs nationally, provided the impetus for the project. Research based on student transition into higher education, student experiences in enabling education programs (particularly literature which focused on recognising the challenges faced by many students in their first year of study), the critical importance of improving student engagement, and the positive role academic advisors can play in student success has informed the development of the College’s strategy. The Zone is part of the College’s student-facing response to engagement, retention, and attrition issues faced by students commencing TPP. It is an interactive web-based platform on the university’s Learning Management System. This guide presents the lived experience of how The Zone evolved to create a student-facing transition resource and a range of student support strategies. The aim of this document is to inform educators in higher education contexts who may consider adopting a similar approach to supporting their first year students. The Zone is a practical and illustrative example of how a collective approach can improve students’ experiences as they begin their journey in higher education.

KeywordsStudent transition
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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