Increasing student participation and success: collaborating to embed academic literacies into the curriculum

  • Linda Carol Thies Deakin University
Keywords: curriculum renewal, embedding generic skills, widening participation


The recent changes to Australian higher education policy aimed at widening participation rates have implications for a changing demographic profile within the student cohort, and possibly the need for different kinds of academic support. One approach to providing such support is developing curricula which integrate academic literacies and content knowledge, and while this focus is not new, such curriculum development has been slow. The literature puts forward a number of interrelated factors to explain why this has been the case, but one factor is the need for a better understanding of the distinction between academic literacies development within disciplines, and the embedding of generic academic literacies which are transferable across subjects. This study evaluates a developing curriculum which embeds academic literacies in a core first year bachelor degree unit in the health sciences. Evaluation of the curriculum indicates that students’ academic results improved with explicit embedding of academic literacies, and on-going collaboration between discipline specialists and Language and Learning Advisers facilitated a more dynamic approach to curriculum development. However, it also highlights the limitations of a piecemeal bottom-up approach to such curriculum development, and supports the argument that embedding academic literacies requires more systemic institutional support in order to achieve sustainable curricula renewal.

Author Biography

Linda Carol Thies, Deakin University
Language and Learning Adviser in the Division of Student Life and Lecturer in Education Studies in the School of Education Faculty of Arts and Education
How to Cite
ThiesL. C. (2012). Increasing student participation and success: collaborating to embed academic literacies into the curriculum. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 6(1), A15-A31. Retrieved from
Research Articles