Embedded academic literacies curricula: the challenges of measuring success


  • Linda Carol Thies Deakin University
  • Anne Wallis Deakin University
  • Anne Turner Deakin University
  • Llewellyn Wishart Deakin University


embedding academic literacies, inclusive approach, curriculum development, research evaluation


Australian higher education policy aimed at widening participation focuses on the inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds, including those from a low socio economic status background. While this policy has succeeded in widening access, other measures of policy success include retention and academic success of these students and their achievement of course learning outcomes. One inclusive approach to contributing to students' academic success is through a curriculum development process which includes the embedding of academic literacies in course curricula. The project presented here is based on a rationale that adopting an embedded academic literacies approach represents a movement away from a deficit model of academic support, and envisages the development of academic literacies in terms of disciplinary practices and shifting student identities. This paper presents two case studies from this project which illustrate different approaches to the development of embedded academic literacies curricula, and discuss the challenges of measuring the success of these approaches. The project evaluation confirms that this curriculum development contributes to students’ awareness of their developing academic skills and literacies and that capacity building for staff should be presented in a variety of different ways. However we would argue that further interrogation of the ‘good and bad news stories’ from this project will contribute to sustainable approaches to enriching curricula more broadly across the university. We would also argue that while broad curriculum renewal depends on systemic university policy, success is also contingent on the engagement of all those who have responsibility for student learning.

Author Biographies

Linda Carol Thies, Deakin University

Linda is a Language and Learning Adviser in the Division of Student Life at the Warrnambool campus of Deakin University

Anne Wallis, Deakin University

Anne is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Science.

Anne Turner, Deakin University

Anne is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Health

Llewellyn Wishart, Deakin University

Llewellyn is a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Education




How to Cite

Thies, L. C., Wallis, A., Turner, A., & Wishart, L. (2014). Embedded academic literacies curricula: the challenges of measuring success. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8(2), A43-A59. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/301



Research Articles