Access to Uni for Queer West Australians

It is recognised and known that homophobia has a profound impact on people’s overall health. Compounding this problem, people of diverse sexualities and genders often face learning disruptions which can affect their opportunity to gain entrance into higher education. Murdoch University has a programme in place which affords such individuals with academic potential the possibility of furthering their studies through UniAccess.

UniAccess is a four-week, full time, hands on and pre-tertiary course that commences at Murdoch University’s South Street campus in the second week of January 2007. The course is designed to enhance and equip participants with general skills and practical strategies to successfully tackle a university workload; things like critical thinking, referencing, methods for study, time management, note-making, reading, structure and critique.

Participants of UniAccess are strongly encouraged to think about the changes that they are trying to make to their own circumstances to be able to do well.

Gerri Box, Manager of Equity, Access and Diversity at Murdoch University told OUTinPerth about the success of the program. �It is very successful course in preparing people that have experienced disadvantage and disruption and have come from of diverse backgrounds.�

The academic assessment component within UniAccess focuses on lecture attendance, tutorial participation, preparing and presenting oral assessments, specialist assignments and essays. In all, the assessment takes into account participants’ status as pre-tertiary students and follows the criteria undergraduates would encounter in their first year at Murdoch University.

Apart from being formally assessed by the course coordinators as ready for the transition to university study in an academic sense, the aim of UniAccess, is for the participants to take away as much theoretical and practical â??pointersâ? as they can from the four-week courseâ??from examining their own learning experience in a societal context to being able to use the university’s resources with confidence.

Ms Box, who has been with the program since it’s inception, added that she has seen real results. â??UniAccess, I am happy to say, has helped people reach their true potential.â? â??I have seen mature age students as well as youth, come out in the process of going through the program which of course has been a real joy,â? stated Ms Box.

UniAccess was first established in 1997 with approximately five hundred people participating in the course since its inception. UniAccess is a commitment by Murdoch University and the Equity, Access and Diversity Office to increase access to a tertiary level of study for a diverse range of people, including people of diverse sexualities and genders. People with disabilities/medical conditions, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, refugees, pensioners and low-income recipients, migrants, people living in rural or remote regions are also encouraged to apply. Murdoch University is renowned for its social-justice ethos to which it subscribes. People of diverse sexualities and genders have access and equity to higher education.

Applications for entry into UniAccess close by the end of this month.  If you would like to find out more information about gaining entry into the course, please phone Gerri Box from the Office of Equity, Access and Diversity at Murdoch University on 9360 6146, email [email protected] or visit www.www.outinperth.com.

Information regarding similar alternative entry avenues in other WA universities can be found on the OUTinPerth website.

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