Access Connections Program
The Access Connections program aims to assist students who started their University journey on an Access Scholarship navigate their career decision making process and transition to professional life by connecting them with an alumni mentor. This is a partnership initiative between Careers and Employment, Advancement and Student Support Services and is available to students who started their University journey on an Access Scholarship, or as Access Entry Scholars.
A pilot program is currently running in Semester 1, 2014. Connecting these students with alumni, they are able to supplement the University’s careers and employment programs with professional networks and the insights of alumni. This serves as an additional aid to students in navigating their career decision making process and transition to professional life.
University of Melbourne Dookie Agricultural Science Experience
The objective of the Dookie Science Experience is to engage secondary age students in a genuine agricultural science experience at the Dookie campus of the University of Melbourne. Specifically the residential program will enable students to understand scientific method as it applies in a range of agricultural systems, for example:
Measurement of pasture quality and quantity;
Applications of robotics in dairy management;
Assessment feed conversion in a commercial piggery, and the impact of ruminant dietary intake on methane emissions.
Improving indigenous student participation in Engineering and ICT
The Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE) in collaboration with Murrup Barak is leading several initiatives, spanning the full student lifecycle, that are intended to help build Indigenous representation in the Engineering/ICT workforce. An ongoing position is required to ensure that the programs have continuity and cohesion. The initiatives are based on a realistic view that a decade or more is required to achieve real gains; recognizing the importance of continued activity to achievement of such long-term goals, the Melbourne School of Engineering has committed to creating an appropriate ongoing professional appointment. Specific project objectives include:
Develop integrated coordination of MSE Indigenous activities;
Provide support for MSE initiatives;
Work with MSE/UoM collaborators and partners to maintain connections and continuity in our activities.
Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (ESTEME)
The ESTEME collaboration was launched in March after 16 months of planning. This ambitious partnership seeks to engage primary school students in the STEM disciplines and inspire them to seriously consider STEM as a future educational and professional pathway. ESTEME is a collaborative undertaking between the Faculty of Science, Melbourne School of Engineering and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education; the City of Yarra (Yarra Education Youth Commitment and the Inner North Local Learning and Employment Network); and seven local schools. The partnership aims to produce students entering Years 7-9 with positive attitudes towards mathematics and science, confidence in their abilities to solve problems systematically, and the desire to continue further STEM studies.
The Australian Youth Humanities Forum
Part festival of ideas, part careers fair, the Australian Youth Humanities Forum offers a Humanities counterpart to the highly successful National Youth Science Forum (a summer school which educates VCE students about careers in science).The Forum will bring together over 200 participants (comprising Year 11 and 12 students, current undergraduates and professionals working in humanities-related fields) for three days of career presentations, small-group discussions, plenary lectures, and mentoring sessions. In selecting students for involvement, those from schools with low higher education participation will be prioritised.
The project ran as a two-day Pilot in 2014 with 100 students and was highly successful. The Pilot was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Engagement Award and was written up in Voice and in The Conversation. The societal and intellectual aims resonated with the broader Melbourne humanities community and the program was able to attract high-profile speakers who appeared on a volunteer basis.
Inspiring Sustained Interest in Biology in Western Victoria through Active Citizen Science
In collaboration with Parks Victoria, the University of Melbourne has been involved in a successful education program at Serendip Sanctuary that providing students with opportunities to learn about the Western Plains region of Victoria, research undertaken by the University of Melbourne, and hands-on experience in simple biological surveys. In the last two years, the project has provided over 5000 school students, primarily from low SES districts in Western Victoria, that visit Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary with opportunities to learn about, and participate in biological research activities.
This newly developed initiative at Serendip will vastly improve the existing experience and, in particular, allow students to remain meaningfully connected as young ‘citizen scientists’ via interactive websites and continued engagement, effectively prolonging the impact of their experience.
UMSU Student Mentoring Network
The Student Mentoring Network will provide students with individual peer mentors throughout their time in the University community, addressing the transition into University, the myriad issues students are faced with during University, and pathways into graduate study or the workforce. It will do this by connecting incoming students with one-on-one mentors who are specifically identified as having similar experiences, and through semi-structured activities throughout the year. On the other side, the Program gives students the opportunity to act as mentors, and share their experience.
The mentoring network will address many of the challenges of transition to university acutely faced by low SES students, including moving away from home, family and friends; anxieties around starting university as the first in their family/only one from their school; and trouble assimilating and getting involved in university life.The program will recruit mentors from within the student body, provide appropriate training, link those mentors to new students to whom they can provide specific support, and foster and reinforce that link.
Raise the Bar Academy (RTBA)
RTBA aims to increase the number of people from low SES backgrounds who access and participate in higher education through a coordinated outreach program involving Melbourne University Sport, Murrup Barak, the Office of Admission and Athletics Australia’s (AA) Athletics for the Outback program. Through our strategic partnership with AA and Murrup Barak we will bring RTBA participants to the University from communities in which Murrup Barak and AA have a standing relationship. These communities are specifically targeted by both Murrup Barak and AA because they meet each institution’s requirement of being remote, Indigenous, and economically disadvantaged populations.
By using the sport of Athletics as the engagement tool the residential program will provide participants with a view to an alternative way to understand and consider accessing higher education. We will also connect participants with staff and students from Murrup Barak programs and the Office of Admissions. This will demonstrate to these students a peer group and home within our university community.
School of Ants Australia - Synchronous and Sustainable Citizen Science
This initiative aims to increase the aspirations of school students from rural and low SES backgrounds across Australia to study biology, by engaging them in a simple and potentially long-term ecological science project. Specifically, this initiative brings an internationally successful web-based, citizen science project – the School of Ants (http://schoolofants.net.au/)
We will develop resources that will provide both primary and high school students with a diversity of activities and lesson plans to sustain participation in the School of Ants project for at least 12 months, and potentially beyond. In particular, students will contribute to a year of nationwide synchronous data collection while learning about a group of animals that play a key role in their local environment. Evaluation and refinement of these resources will be undertaken through participation in school incursions at specific schools in rural and remote Victoria, the Northern Territory, NSW and Queensland. Students and teachers from these schools will then remain engaged as citizen scientists via an interactive website and communication with the School of Ants coordinator.
Distribution of the School of Ants Resource Kit to teachers Australia wide, either individually as appropriate, or through various Teachers’ programs will allow for wider engagement, and involvement.