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Plenary Speakers « NTLT Conference 2017

Erik Brogt: Preparing students to communicate science to non-scientists during natural hazard crisis events

During a natural hazard crisis, timely and high-quality science and emergency management communication is critical. In this I talk will present results on a variety of science education and communication initiatives at or led by the University of Canterbury. With a team of scientists, hazard management academics, and educational researchers, we investigated how we can design and evaluate curricular innovations to prepare students in science and engineering, as well as professionals in the field, for their role as science educators and communicators in high-stress, scientifically uncertain natural hazard scenarios. Results show that the interventions increased students’ communication confidence, self-reported competence, and their outlook on science communication shifted more toward those of experts.


Joanne Baxter and Zoë Bristowe: Weaving Our Worlds: Achieving equitable outcomes for Māori Health Sciences students at the University of Otago

Since 2011 there has been a significant increase in the number of Māori students successfully completing Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) at the University of Otago. HSFY is a challenging academic course providing a pathway for successful students to enter into Otago’s ‘restricted entry’ health professional programmes (such as medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy and pharmacy).

In 2013 we identified that although a recently introduced Māori health science student success programme led to large improvements in Māori learner outcomes, these outcomes were not evenly distributed. Māori HSFY students from areas of higher deprivation (NZDep2013) and /or lower decile secondary schools, were less likely to enjoy academic success.

Weaving Our Worlds was developed in 2013 as a National Project Fund supported by AKO Aotearoa in partnership with the University of Otago. The project aimed to assess whether enhancements to the existing strengths-based Māori HSFY student support programme would improve academic outcomes for all Māori HSFY students, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Nine years of HSFY data from 2008-2016 were analysed. Additional qualitative data were also gathered from HSFY Māori students involved in the enhanced programme (2014 and 2015).

Results show the enhanced HSFY support programme directly contributed to improved academic outcomes and an improved experience for Māori HSFY students, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and lower decile schools.

This presentation describes the Weaving Our Worlds project and the strengths plus evidence-based intervention. We explore qualitative and quantitative research findings from the project and discuss key learnings. The presentation discusses


how more equitable outcomes for under-represented groups might be achieved by incorporating a strengths plus evidence-informed approach to support tertiary learners.