Authors: Josephine May and Rosalie Bunn, University of Newcastle
Edition: Volume 55, Number 1, April 2015
Summary: By the 1960s equality of opportunity was a dominant theme in social science research, and in keeping with this trend, the Whitlam Labor Government abolished university fees in 1974 to open university access, especially to talented women and men who otherwise would not contemplate a university career. In the same year also the
University of Newcastle instituted a radical new plan to open up its doors to the wider community of ‘non traditional students’. This paper explores the history of the enabling program that resulted, the Open Foundation Program, focusing on the 1974 pilot program and its first two years of full operation. Thought at the time likely to ‘drain its
market’ within five years, the Open Foundation has flourished and grown for forty years. The analysis focuses on hitherto unexplored aspects of the program and canvasses three key themes: curriculum and pedagogy, access and success, and support and retention, in order to understand the seeds of this longevity.
Keywords: enabling education; history; widening participation; access programs; non traditional students
This article is part of AJAL, Volume 55_1. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.