Can Business Principles Be Adapted to Higher Education for the Improvment of Study Support to Diverse Student Cohorts?

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One of the most significant challenges facing universities today is developing effective, efficient and equitable approaches to support diverse student cohorts, resulting from the market mechanisms now driving the tertiary education sector. Traditional mechanistic structures using specialisation of skills meant that the responsibility for the integration of this cohort was given to specialist language and study support advisers and counsellors who sat on the periphery of the educational experience. This created ineffective, inefficient and inequitable deficit and compensatory models of student support. At La Trobe University (Australia), two Language and Academic Skills advisers proposed working collaboratively with an academic to consider a business approach which embedded support into a mainstream subject with the aim of developing greater efficiency, effectiveness and equity in the management and delivery of this support. This was done by adopting the principles of strategic management and organic, team based structures in order to address many of the issues faced by students and staff in the current business driven tertiary education environment. This paper explores the application of these business principles to the re-structuring of a core second year subject (with an extremely diverse cohort) and outlines the positive impacts on students and staff.


Keywords: Embedding Student Support, Mechanistic and Organic Structures, Student Diversity, Equity, Effectiveness and Efficiency, Business Principles, Strategic Management
Stream: Educational Leadership and Management
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: , Can Business Principles be Adapted to Higher Education to Improve the Provision of Study Support to Diverse Student Cohorts?


Anna Brunken

Associate Lecturer A/ Language and Academic Skills Adviser, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Anna Brunken has over 30 years of teaching experience in various educational settings (secondary, Technical and Further Education and university). She has extensive experience working with Business students (undergraduate and post-graduate) and also international students, having worked solely with international students at the International campus of Central Queensland University. Anna is currently employed as an Associate Lecturer and LAS Adviser in the Faculty of Law and Management at La Trobe University.

Pamela Delly

Associate Lecturer A/ Language and Academic Skills Adviser, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pamela Delly has over 30 years of teaching experience in various educational settings (secondary, Technical and Furhter Education and university). She has extensive experience working with Business students (undergraduate and post-graduate) and also international students, having worked solely with international students at the International campus of Central Queensland University. Pam is currently employed as an Associate Lecturer and LAS Adviser in the Faculty of Law and Management at La Trobe University.

Ref: L09P0657