The impetus for this project comes from my long-held interest and passion for increasing the access and participation of students from diverse backgrounds. The focus on their first-in-family status derived from an empirical understanding that this is a cohort that are highly intersected by equity categorisations and who may not enjoy the academic success of their non-first in family peers. This project was funded by the Australian Research Council (DP170100705) and it builds upon other research that I have led in the field including an Australian Government Teaching and Learning project (Breaking the Barriers: supporting and engaging mature age first-in-family university learners and their families) and also an Australian Government Teaching and Learning Fellowship (“Engaging Families to Engage Students”: Exploring how university outreach activities can forge productive partnerships with families to assist first in family students navigate their higher education journey). In addition to these Government funded projects, I have also received a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to explore best practice in retaining students who are first in family (FiF) to attend university.
This work has been supported by key people, this includes the co-researcher and project manager for all these studies Dr Janine Delahunty and Wendy Firth who has provided key technological and digital media support. My colleagues A/Prof Cathy Stone and A/Prof Jo May have also provided key contribution to earlier studies in this field.