Marcia Devlin

Marcia Devlin
Victoria University Melbourne | VU · Office of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

PhD, MEd, GradDipAppldPsych, DipEd, BA

About

148
Publications
65,796
Reads
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2,608
Citations
Introduction
Working with a range of collaborators and co-authors, my research is focused in three broad areas: (1) equity in higher education; (2) learning and teaching in higher education; and (3) leadership, including women in leadership. I am particularly interested in students from low socioeconomic status (LSES) backgrounds and bridging sociociocultural incongruity. I recently led to completion a study on costs and economies of scale in supporting students from LSES backgrounds.
Additional affiliations
June 2018 - present
Victoria University Melbourne
Position
  • Professor
February 2013 - January 2017
Federation University Australia
Position
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) and Professor of Learning Enhancement

Publications

Publications (148)
Technical Report
Full-text available
Deferral and leave-taking behaviour substantially affects enrolment and retention rates across Australian universities. Almost ten per cent of commencing students defer their university offer every year, while over 20 per cent of continuing students take leave from their university within three years of commencing a Bachelor degree. Our research co...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the costs of supporting Australian university students from different socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds and whether there are economies of scale. The mixed-methods research in 2018 and 2019 found that substantially higher costs applied for supporting students from low SES backgrounds. These were explained by the costs inher...
Article
Full-text available
This invited Commentary examines responses to the book, Beating the Odds: A practical guide to navigating sexism in Australian universities. The book is relevant to the theme of the Special Issue, as women leading teaching and learning are doing so in a sexist environment that limits their opportunities to lead and that under-values their contribut...
Article
In this Special Issue Harvey and Jones state “It is time for women academics to accept the challenge – to rightfully claim their leadership”. We recognise the many women who have challenged the system, and those whose efforts have been thwarted. We encourage women and men to work together to break down the barriers of gender, race, culture, and rel...
Article
The catastrophic disruption to higher education from the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant and rapid changes to the delivery of mainstream teaching and learning in higher education institutions around the globe, in particular through the use of online learning. The many examples of innovation and novelty demonstrated by institutions a...
Book
This humorous book about a serious topic will help women learn to beat the current odds for their university career success and achieve their full potential. This funny and practical guide to kicking the system in the butt will give women who read it an unfair advantage and help them fight the odds against them. This book tells it like it is and i...
Chapter
In this chapter, the focus is on higher education research or what Boyer has called the scholarship of discovery. The concepts of higher education research and the scholarship of discovery may have similarities or differences – such comparisons are not the subject of this chapter. The chapter outlines nine elements of the scholarship of discovery f...
Chapter
This chapter reports on the findings from an Australian study exploring how best to facilitate the success of students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds who are studying at regional universities. Interviews with 69 successful students from low SES backgrounds and with 26 stakeholders experienced in supporting these students were carri...
Article
Students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds often contend with financial issues that have the potential to impact significantly on their success in higher education. Research has shown that students from low SES backgrounds often find themselves under economic pressure to prioritise paid work over their education. Few studies have expl...
Chapter
Over the last decade, higher education in Australia has made strong progress towards strengthening the participation of students from low socioeconomic (SES) status backgrounds and those from regional and remote areas. These efforts have necessitated a rethink of current models and strategies and the development of more inclusive curriculum, assess...
Chapter
This chapter explores the use of enabling programs by Australian universities to improve participation and success for students historically underrepresented in the nation’s higher education system. It draws on empirical evidence from a national research project designed to undertake a review of current enabling programs offered by Australian highe...
Article
Student achievement is key to the fundamental objectives and future of all higher educational institutions across the globe. But despite this widespread intention, questions around the extent to which approaches to digitised/online education reflect this commitment often arise. The needs of mass and global student cohorts in higher education may no...
Chapter
Full-text available
Enabling programs are not-for-degree programs designed to provide the necessary academic and cultural scaffolding for students who do not meet the institution’s usual admissions criteria. The evidence from the study indicates that Indigenous enabling pathways provide an important and effective environment in which the students develop a sense of be...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The objectives of this research project were to: • determine the major, high-level factors that contribute to retention and completion for domestic students from low SES backgrounds who are studying at regional universities; • determine successful approaches to increasing the success of these students; • provide guidance about how to begin addressi...
Chapter
Widening participation movements inevitably give rise to discussions of the false dichotomy between equity and standards. The assumption is that by allowing differently prepared students into university and thereby improving equity, standards are somehow compromised. A recent national Australian study examined effective teaching and support of univ...
Chapter
This chapter outlines a case study of the application of the neo-positivist paradigm in the higher education research field. A small scale evaluative study of an attempt to improve teaching and learning provides the case study. The neo-positivist paradigm involves the objective investigation of an aspect of reality, providing a provisional, contemp...
Article
Full-text available
Australian higher education has adopted a widening participation agenda with a focus on the participation of disadvantaged students, particularly those from low socioeconomic status (LSES) backgrounds. As these students begin to enter university in greater number and proportion than ever before, there is increasing interest in how best to facilitat...
Article
Full-text available
The discourse around students from low socio-economic backgrounds often adopts a deficit conception in which these students are seen as a ‘problem’ in higher education. In light of recent figures pointing to an increase in the number and proportion of these students participating in higher education [Pitman, T. 2014. “More Students in Higher ed, Bu...
Chapter
Widening participation movements inevitably give rise to discussions of the false dichotomy between equity and standards. The assumption is that by allowing differently prepared students into university and thereby improving equity, standards are somehow compromised. A recent national Australian study examined effective teaching and support of univ...
Chapter
Full-text available
At the heart of this book are people enrolling at university for the first time and entering into the broad variety of social relations and contexts entailed in their ‘coming to know’ at, of and through university.
Article
The Australian government has set ambitious targets for increased higher-education participation of people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. There is, thus, a pressing need to explore how best to empower these students with what they require to progress and succeed at university. The paper draws on a literature review and qualitative data from a...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores a set of principles that underpin ensuring that the learning needs of all students are addressed in next generation learning spaces. With increasingly diverse higher education environments and populations, higher education needs to move from seeing student diversity as problematic and deficit-based, to welcoming, celebrating a...
Article
The growing interest in the higher education sector in publishing pedagogical research has led to a focus on professional development for staff who wish to engage in this endeavour. This paper describes and evaluates a specific programme designed to help university staff to prepare and submit a high-quality paper to a peer-reviewed journal. Feature...
Article
The Australian government has set ambitious targets for increased higher-education participation of people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. There is, thus, a pressing need to explore how best to empower these students with what they require to progress and succeed at university. The paper draws on a literature review and qualitative data from a...
Article
The widening participation agenda in Australian higher education heralds changes that demand fresh thinking in university leadership and management of learning and teaching. The findings from interviews, across two national studies in 16 Australian universities, with 50 staff and 89 successful students from low socio-economic backgrounds, provide t...
Chapter
Interest in the university student experience is a relatively recent phenomenon. As a health professional, depending on your specific profession, on when you were educated into your profession, and on whether you took a vocational or university route into your profession, the notion of “the student experience” may be new to you or something about w...
Article
As the Australian higher education population further diversifies as a result of federal government policy changes, the collective understanding of effective university teaching in the Australian context will need to evolve to incorporate such shifts. The Australian Government has set clear targets for increased university participation of people f...
Article
Full-text available
Student engagement has rapidly developed a central place in the quality agenda of Australian universities since the introduction of the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE). The AUSSE is based on one developed in the USA. The main arguments given for adopting this survey in Australia are that it provides a valid instrument for measurin...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This resource has been developed as part of a national research project, Effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds: Resources for Australian higher education . This guide provides practical advice about the teaching characteristics and strategies that contribute to the success of students from low socioeco...
Article
Full-text available
The Australian Government's response to the 2008 Bradley Review of higher education has set clear targets for increased university participation of people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. Using a ‘success-focused’ methodological approach, this research documents the factors that a sample of 53 later-year, low socioeconomic status backgrou...
Article
This article examines the conceptual frames that might be used to consider the success and achievement of students from low socio-economic status in Australian higher education. Based on an examination of key literature from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and North America, it is argued that Australia should avoid adopting either a defi...
Presentation
Full-text available
A presentation to the Law Faculty
Article
Full-text available
This project developed as a result of some inconclusive data from an investigation of whether a relationship existed between the use of formative assessment opportunities and performance, as measured by final grade. We were expecting to show our colleagues and students that use of formative assessment resources had the potential to improve performa...
Article
The so-called 'Melbourne Model' has recently been adopted by the Council of the University of Melbourne, Australia after a long consultation process and widespread media attention. It proposes the design of new subjects which offer what are referred to as 'different ways of knowing' from students' 'core' disciplines, partly through 'the delivery of...
Article
In higher education, interdisciplinarity involves the design of subjects that offer the opportunity to experience ‘different ways of knowing’ from students’ core or preferred disciplines. Such an education is increasingly important in a global knowledge economy. Many universities have begun to introduce interdisciplinary studies or subjects to meet...
Presentation
Full-text available
Invited workshop at The University of New England
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Bradley/Gillard reforms of higher education will bring significant changes to universities in Australia over the next decade. Not least among these changes will be the expansion and diversification of the student population. The challenges these changes will inevitably bring will be examined alongside some of the ways in which they might be bes...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In addition to the intrinsic commitment that higher education institutions, and the individuals and teams within them, have to the achievement and success of non-traditional students, the links between government widening participation policy, performance measurement and funding to universities will now provide an additional incentive. The future g...
Article
The criteria of effective teaching in higher education are understood to comprise particular skills and practices applied within particular contexts. Drawing on the literature and using Australia’s understanding of effective teaching, this paper examines the notion of effective teaching. The paper specifically compares dimensions derived from robus...
Book
This book is an attempt to document our knowledge of interdisciplinarity in higher education, with an emphasis – though not exclusively – on the Australasian and South-East Asian region, and to a lesser extent on Europe. The book is being published at a time when interdisciplinary higher education is enjoying a resurgence of interest globally, chal...
Article
Full-text available
Article
In Australia, there has been a tendency to rely on quantitative indicators of university teaching quality. This has occurred partly because the indicators are perceived as objective and reliable and partly because they are relatively simple to gather and collate. A national project currently underway is based on the assumptions that teaching qualit...
Article
The rates of higher education access, participation and completion for Indigenous students are much lower than those for non-Indigenous students in Australia. This paper argues for a research-led focus on what works in terms of Indigenous student equity in higher education. Undertaking independent evaluation of existing initiatives and leveraging t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A handbook to support institutions in developing and embedding effective policies and practices in peer review of teaching.
Article
Full-text available
Studying and Working: A national study of student finances and student engagement A key determinant of the new relationship between students and universities in Australia is the changing nature of higher education funding arrangements and the shift towards ‗user-pays'. In 2007 Universities Australia, the peak body for universities in Australia comm...
Article
Full-text available
PEER review is a well-established practice in higher education to monitor and enhance the quality of research. Why, then, do we tend to avoid peer review as a legitimate process through which to evaluate and improve the quality of teaching?<br /
Article
Full-text available
Using a recent study that examined the effectiveness of a particular approach to improving individual university teaching as a case study, this paper examines some of the challenges inherent in educational research, particularly research examining the effects of interventions to improve teaching. Aspects of the research design and methodology and o...
Book
This short paper explores the relevance of the scholarship of teaching to advancing Deakin University’s mission and core commitments, to teaching and learning and to its staff. The concept of the scholarship of teaching is defined and a discussion of the relevance of the concept to Deakin is then presented. Some broad guiding principles for impleme...
Book
There is much complexity to the term ‘higher education research’. This paper explores the notion and provides some background for ongoing discussion with members of the College of Distinguished Deakin Educators (CDDE) and other staff stakeholders at Deakin University.
Article
Full-text available
The ways in which universities and individual academics attempt to deter and respond to student plagiarism may be based on untested assumptions about particular or primary reasons for this behaviour. Using a series of group interviews, this qualitative study gathered the views of 56 Australian university students on the possible reasons for plagiar...
Article
The term ‘interdisciplinary’ is used increasingly in the rapidly changing context of higher education. It is often used loosely, and is frequently confused with ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘cross- disciplinary’. Collectively, however, terms such as these have become catch-cry. But what do these terms mean and what are the implications for higher educat...
Article
Full-text available
A guide to support institutional leaders facilitate discussions on using Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) 2 data with university stakeholders. About this guide Purpose In essence, the AUSSE results provide information that universities can use to improve the quality of the undergraduate student experience and their learning outcome...
Article
Full-text available
The Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) provides data for each institution on student engagement that is both generalisable and sensitive to institutional context. The data can help universities monitor and enhance the quality of education. This guide suggests how Australasian universities might use AUSSE data in a productive manner t...
Book
This guide has been written for people who are new to tutoring in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce at the University of Melbourne. It is one of a number of teaching and related guides provided by the Teaching and Learning Unit (TLU). The guide is intended to be a useful source of ideas and advice for good tutoring practice, based on sound educ...
Article
Full-text available
There is one account in the literature of the application of a solution‐focused approach to individual teaching development at university level (Devlin, 20039. Devlin , M. 2003. A solution‐focused model for improving individual university teaching. International Journal for Academic Development, 8(1/2): 77–89. View all references). The solution‐fo...
Article
Full-text available
Teaching development can play a critical role in ensuring the quality of teaching and learning in universities. However, a proportion of teaching development currently carried out and discussed in the literature is underpinned by a set of assumptions that may not be accurate. These assumptions are related to the part that university teachers' belie...

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Projects

Projects (14)
Project
This collection of research projects and publications are focused on facilitating success for students from 'equity groups'. These include: students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds and regional and remote areas and students with disabilities, as well as First Nations students.
Project
The central aim of this project is to provide practical strategies for individuals who are navigating the sexism inherent in academia. In Australia, men hold 75% of chancellor and vice-chancellor roles and make up 65% of the professoriate. The project will draw on evidence from government statistics as well as the lived experiences of women and men in academia. The project will move beyond describing the problem and generic calls for change and instead focus on practical micro actions that every human being inside higher education can consider taking.
Project
In 2018, Victoria University (VU) introduced a new approach to first year undergraduate higher education through the design and implementation of a First Year Model, encompassing Block Mode learning and teaching. The first of its kind in Australia, the dual strategy focussed on maximising student engagement with a highly interactive and personal small group experience, pedagogy designed to ease the transition and promote learning gain, as well as personalised co-curricular academic and other support to enhance knowledge and skills. This doctoral study aims to develop a research framework to examine the dual approach of a revised First Year Model combined with Block Mode delivery and their impact on student academic success, satisfaction and retention. The study will expand the evidence base on the success factors of Block Mode learning and teaching, and it will add new knowledge globally on the application of this delivery mode for larger student populations. To achieve this, a two-phased study design will be undertaken along with an extensive literature review. Phase One will implement a quantitative approach that utilises institutional data to examine and compare variances in student academic success, satisfaction and retention between the groups who studied in the traditional model the year prior to the First Year Model and Block Mode with the groups who studied in the new model within the following two consecutive years. This analysis will include multiple academic disciplines and equity groups. Phase two will consider the findings of the quantitative study, as well as the overall phenomena of the delivery mode, through interviews with staff and students. The interviews will seek to explore the academic success, satisfaction and retention perspectives of participants through their lived experience. The findings from the two-phased research study will complement the evidence, themes and perspectives that emerge from the literature review.