Bundaberg educator Karen Seary has been named a national champion for change in recognition of her work with CQUniversity’s higher education enabling programs.
The CQUniversity Associate Dean of Access Education has been involved in the progams at CQUniversity for more than a quarter of a century.
The recognition came from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and Equity Partners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA), as part of this year’s World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED).
National champion for change awards celebrate the life changing work of student equity practitioners in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, into and through higher education.
Working in the enabling and education sector for the past four decades, Karen was initially employed with CQUniversity as the Campus Coordinator and lecturer within CQUniversity’s Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies Course (STEPS).
Karen said she was humbled by the recognition and nomination as a champion for change.
“Every day my team and I in the School of Access Education get to work with amazing students who are committed to changing their lives,” Karen said.
“It is such an honour to witness students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, achieve their dreams and excel at university upon completion of our enabling program.
“Being able to attain a higher education qualification not only changes their lives but also changes the lives of their families.
“Witnessing this success is what drives my colleagues and me. It truly is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.”
CQUniversity’s Vice-President, Academic, Professor Helen Huntly said that Karen’s significant and long-term contribution to CQUniversity and the higher education sector had provided opportunities for students to enter and complete university study when they otherwise may not have had the chance.
“Karen’s commitment to access and participation has supported and enabled thousands of students across Australia to pursue their goal of a university education,” she said.
“Karen has worked tirelessly over many years to develop, deliver and refine our enabling program the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) course.
“Her leadership in this space has produced the highest quality, sector-leading course that provides students with the skills, knowledge and confidence required for tertiary study success.
“The course carefully guides and provides opportunities for students to become self-directed, active and confident learners, who are familiar with all aspects of student life – from study habits, academic writing, and goal-setting to navigating University systems and support services.”
Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) is a free enabling course that provides a pathway for people wishing to gain entry to and excel in higher education.
Upon successful completion of STEPS, students can apply for direct entry to most of CQUniversity's undergraduate courses.
For more information about STEPS, visit www.cqu.edu.au/steps.