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The team at the project’s launch at Massey earlier this month. Back row: Cathy Yates (Taihape Area School), Ken Kilpin (Massey CED), Mary Anne Sleyer (Cullinane College), Kerrigan Jacques ( Cullinanae College), Debi Marshall-Lobb (Hato Paora College) and Nicki Harding (Taihape Area School). Front row: Janet Greenhough (Taihape Area School), Lisa Emerson (Massey University), Shelley Morgan (Wangani City College) and Angela Feekery (Massey University). Absent: Kelly Nicklin (Hato Paora College).


Project to smooth the transition to tertiary education

Massey will partner with four regional secondary schools in a new project to support pupils as they move into tertiary education.

The project Enabling academic literacy: Smoothing the transition to tertiary learning has received $200,000 in funding from the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative.

School of English and Media Studies Associate Professor Lisa Emerson is the project’s primary investigator.

Professor Emerson and Massey researchers Angela Feekery and Ken Kilpin will work with pupils at Hato Paora College, Cullinane College, Wanganui City College and Taihape Area School.

“The aim of the project is to support pupils from low-to-mid decile schools through the transition into tertiary education by providing a two-year programme of support in academic literacy,” Dr Emerson says.

In the first year, the researchers will work with the four schools to develop the academic literacy of their Year 13 pupils. “We will be resourcing teachers, developing peer support networks for teachers, and providing peer mentors for the pupils,” she says. “The peer mentors will be Massey students who have been selected and trained to support the pupils.”

In the second year the project team will continue to work with the pupils who progress into tertiary study. They will also hold a national hui for secondary and tertiary teachers on improving the transition to tertiary learning through academic literacy, based on the team’s research.

Professor Emerson says she is excited by the project’s opportunities. “Pupils from lower decile schools often struggle to transition to tertiary study, and research shows that, even if they enrol at university, they often fail to complete their first year.

“Retention is a very important issue for universities, and we hope our project will show an effective way universities can support and retain students through this vital period of transition.”

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