Universities in Transition

Universities in transition cover

Foregrounding Social Contexts of Knowledge in the First Year Experience

edited by Heather Brook, Deane Fergie, Michael Maeorg and Dee Michell


FREE | 2014 | Ebook (PDF) | 978-1-922064-83-7 | 258 pp

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20851/universities-transition

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Universities are social universes in their own right. For some time now the terms ‘transition to university’ and ‘first-year experience’ have been at the centre of discussion and discourse at, and about, Australian universities. For those university administrators, researchers and teachers involved, this focus has been framed by a number of interlinked factors ranging from social justice concerns to the hard economic realities confronting the contemporary corporatising university. In the midst of changing global economic conditions affecting the international student market, as well as shifting domestic politics surrounding university funding, the equation of dollars with student numbers has remained a constant, and has kept universities’ attention on the current ‘three Rs’ of higher education — recruitment, retention, reward — and, in particular, on the critical phase of students’ entry into the tertiary institution environment.

At the heart of this book are people enrolling at university for the first time and entering into the broad variety of social relations and contexts entailed in their ‘coming to know’ at, of and through university. The contributors to this book seek to reconceptualise the ‘first-year experience’ in terms of multiple and dynamic processes of dialogue and exchange amongst all participants. They interrogate taken-for-granted understandings of what ‘the university’ is, and they consider what universities might yet become.