Avondale develops new research support using first-of-its-kind government grant
A grant awarded to Avondale for the first time has helped the college of higher education develop a framework to more easily train research supervisors.
The Avondale Research Training Support Framework is funded by a $29,800 extension grant from the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching, a first for a project lead by Avondale.
The framework incorporates Avondale’s existing platform for higher degree by research supervisors and students, called Researcher’s Little Helper and accessed through online learning management system Moodle. It serves as a portal for resources and policies on Avondale’s website and includes information about training events and workshops.
Developed using a participatory research methodology, the framework evolved through its early stages. “We knew it would be a helpful resource, but we didn’t know what form it would take,” says Associate Professor Maria Northcote, Director of the Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. “We sought feedback from the people who would actually use it. As a result, the framework gives both students and staff a central place to find information and makes the HDR program much clearer.”
The framework is a significant achievement for research in general, says Vice-President (Academic and Research) Professor Anthony Williams. He describes the ability to demonstrate competency and even excellence in research and research training as critical to the success of Avondale’s application for university college status. “For research to be complete in its profile, it must support a vibrant research culture. Part of that culture is training students in the skills of research through higher degrees by research. The framework acknowledges our relatively small size yet outlines a pathway for achieving quality in research training.”
Receiving the grant and developing the framework contributed in other ways to the research culture at Avondale. The grant funded on-campus workshops by academics from Australian Catholic University, Australian National University, Edith Cowan University and University College Dublin during the development of the framework. Williams describes this as a significant benefit because the workshops “supported more staff than were involved in the project.” And the research from Northcote and her team is appearing in three published papers—one at a conference and two in journals.
An external evaluation of the framework by consulting academics will begin in semester two this year.
The Office for Learning and Teaching is part of the Department of Education and Training. It promotes and supports change in higher education institutions for the enhancement of learning and teaching.