Macquarie University
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Be in my corner: the students' voice on university support services' accommodation of their needs

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posted on 2022-03-28, 10:19 authored by Elizabeth Hitches
With increasing diversity in the tertiary student population, comes a growing necessity to ensure all students enrolled in university study are enabled to fulfil their potential. For those experiencing difficulties in their ability to participate and perform within the universities' structures, which may occur when students experience disability, illness or difficult personal circumstances, it is essential that the support services available can effectively accommodate their needs. There are suggestions that whilst many are benefiting from this support, others are having less positive experiences. Research in Australia is highlighting the need for a more student-centred approach in the provision of university support. As such, this study sought to explore and understand students' (n = 60) beliefs regarding the extent to which university support services accommodate their needs. An exploratory qualitative research design was adopted to unearth the insider's perspective, gaining insight into what students believe is effective, ineffective, and the ways in which the support they receive could be improved. Through Senge's (1990) theory of leverage, students' insights were examined to determine how services may enhance their ability to cater for students' diverse needs, and which aspects of these services may be most beneficial to focus upon. The findings reveal that effective support goes beyond the tangible to the affective. Students highlighted the importance of personalised support which cared about, and catered to, their particular needs and was timely and accessible. Furthermore, students noted that effective support could facilitate student agency and empowerment. Support was deemed ineffective when these positive aspects were lacking or absent. These aspects can, with minimal effort, be improved. When students with diverse needs feel they must work "twice as hard" as their peers (Moriña, 2017a, p. 220), at the very least they should feel their support services are in their corner, willing and able to assist them -- abstract.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction -- Chapter Two: Literature review -- Chapter Three: Methodology -- Chapter Four: Results -- Chapter Five: Discussion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 76-88

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie School of Education

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie School of Education

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kerry-Ann O'Sullivan

Additional Supervisor 1

Stuart Woodcock


Copyright Elizabeth Hitches 2021.




1 online resource (x, 112 pages)

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