University of Canberra

The Regional Pathways program was established at the University of Canberra in 2009 following consideration of national and institutional drivers for equality in educational achievement in Australia. Communities in Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Snowy River, Cooma-Monaro, Goulburn-Mulwaree and Shoalhaven Shires were invited to participate in the program.

Following a formal procurement process, EcoSTEPS were engaged by The University of Canberra under a contract dated December 2011 as follows: “The consultant will consult with the designated project officer at the University of Canberra to plan and carry out an evaluation of the processes, practices and outcomes of the DEEWR-funded project Pathways to Enhance Regional Participation in Higher Education.”

The project required an assessment of aspects of this ‘Regional Pathways’ program with a focus on evaluation of the planning and delivery of two specific sub-programs within the overall program: UCanREACH (Merimbula) and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA) (Batemans Bay).

A range of stakeholders, including community members and course participants were consulted in December 2011 and January 2012. Subsequently a Report and Case Study were prepared.

This project was part case study development and part evaluation assessment, with an emphasis on qualitative and anecdotal/story telling outcomes as opposed to more strictly empirical and quantitative approaches.

“… the Holy Grail of effective collaboration—is in creating shared understanding about the problem, and shared commitment to the possible solutions.

Shared understanding does not mean we necessarily agree on the problem … Shared understanding means that the stakeholders understand each other’s positions well enough to have intelligent dialogue about the different interpretations of the problem, and to exercise collective intelligence about how to solve it.”

J. Conklin, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems (2006) p. 29


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