A student-centred approach: understanding higher education pathways through co-design

Dr Mollie Dollinger has contributed significantly to the Australian regional and rural education discourse through her application of co-design methods and students as partners approaches. In 2020-2021 Mollie led a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) grant where she and her team collaborated with RR schools across Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia to explore Middle Year students’ perspectives and ideas on how to improve pathways into higher education. Arising from the research project was key findings that spanned curriculum development, teaching training, and participatory design methods. For example, findings included the benefits of context-specific interventions (Dollinger et al., 2020), the importance of Middle Years careers curriculum (D’Angelo & Dollinger, 2021), and how practice can better support a positive narrative about RR communities and leveraging local knowledge (Gao et al., 2022). She and her team also co-created 10 regional-specific learning activities (Mahat et al., 2022) and a regional toolkit for key influencers.

In 2022 Mollie also worked with Deakin colleagues through an Advance HE grant to explore the idea of a community-embedded university with RR students, where the used co-design methods to explore how universities can authentically position themselves as partners with regional and rural communities.


Highly Commended 2022 Category: Research Excellence