Increasing Accessibility to Academic Support in Higher Education for Diverse Student Cohorts


  • Madeleine Bornschlegl James Cook University
  • Nerina Jane Caltabiano James Cook University



academic help seeking, diverse student cohorts, widening participation, higher education


Academic support at Australian universities has become an important aspect of higher education, as student cohorts continue to diversify, and universities need to ensure the students’ success and the institutions’ reputations. Often, students in need do not access academic support services and little is known about what influences students’ decisions to seek academic support. This small-scale qualitative study aims to clarify why students (do not) engage in support and what could be changed to make services more accessible and engaging. Semi-structured interviews revealed that the promotion of services needs to be improved and public stigma about seeking academic help should be addressed to normalise accessing academic support services at university. A high standard of ease of use and the opportunity to participate in support in various modes (e.g. online, face-to-face, peer learning, individual learning) contribute to the helpfulness and the overall positive perception of academic support services.


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Author Biographies

Madeleine Bornschlegl, James Cook University

Madeleine Bornschlegl is a PhD student (College of Healthcare Sciences) and an experienced Learning Advisor (Learning Teaching and Student Engagement) at James Cook University, AUS. Her research and work focus on improving the student experience and supporting students to succeed at university.

Nerina Jane Caltabiano, James Cook University

Nerina Jane Caltabiano is an Associate Professor of Psychology (College of Healthcare Sciences) at the Cairns Campus of James Cook University, AUS. As a Social Psychologist, employing both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, her research interests incorporate multidisciplinary perspectives from social, educational, and developmental psychology.


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How to Cite

Bornschlegl, Madeleine, and Nerina Jane Caltabiano. 2022. “Increasing Accessibility to Academic Support in Higher Education for Diverse Student Cohorts”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 10 (March).