Models of support for student wellbeing in enabling programs: comparisons, contrasts and commonalities at four Australian universities
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Students in enabling programs bring a richness and diversity to universities. This diversity is important both to the vitality of the institutions, and the social equity outcomes that enabling programs hope to foster. Yet, in crossing the bridge between pre-university and university entry, these students are often confronted by multiple challenges. Within the literature, concerns such as mental health difficulties, complex family issues and being first in the family to attend university have been shown to impact on a student’s ability to succeed academically, develop a sense of belonging in the university community and negotiate personal hurdles. While many universities provide counselling services, which are of great value, they are but one element in a more comprehensive model of support for the wellbeing of students in enabling programs. This paper will present the key features of four models of supporting enabling students’ wellbeing that have been developed at four institutions. The participating universities are the University of Tasmania, Murdoch University, The University of Newcastle, and the University of the Sunshine Coast. The models are unique, and also share commonalities, in terms of whether the support is embedded, centrally-located, proactive, informal or holistic.
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