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Uni Bridges program
The Uni Bridges program is a partnership between La Trobe University, participating secondary schools, the Koorie Academy of Excellence and Quantum Victoria.
The partnership developed between La Trobe and participating secondary schools allows Uni Bridges students to participate in hands-on laboratory sessions at the University and Quantum Victoria. There are 7 participating secondary schools from the northern metropolitan Melbourne area and the Greater Bendigo region. Specific Uni Bridges curriculum is collaboratively developed in a range of subject areas for the Year 11 to 12 students. It is then delivered by the partner schools in units contextualised to the theme of Preventing and Curing Disease. The Uni Bridges program is designed to give students an enriched learning experience with a greater focus on contextual and cross curricula units resulting in an increase in the aspiration and capacity of students.
Students have access to Academic experts and interact with students from other Uni Bridges schools via a digital learning platform that enables students to share their work and experiences with students and teachers.
The program provides an alternate pathway into tertiary studies in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines at La Trobe University. Students complete their Capstone presentations in Year 12 and receive a school recommendation before applying for their selected Uni Bridges course through VTAC.
Impact of the program
Uni Bridges was established in 2011 and has made a fundamental change to a huge number of students by increasing their aspirations to attend University. Many of these students were first in family or low Socio Economic Status students who are sometimes underrepresented in STEM based courses. In 2016 there were nearly 900 Uni Bridges students across the 12 schools and range of subjects including biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, English and mathematics and year levels 10, 11 and 12.
Driven by theme-based learning, the Uni Bridges curriculum is supplemented with student visits to La Trobe University, where they participate in workshops and lectures through a digital learning platform, The Unibridge. This enables communication between Uni Bridges team members, teachers and students involved with the program.
After completing the program students enrolled in Uni Bridges may receive a conditional early offer into selected La Trobe courses based on a school recommendation. The program can be considered as an alternative entry program into tertiary studies in the maths, engineering or science disciplines allowing students access to a range of degrees via the Uni Bridges pathway.
Student involvement in the Uni Bridges program enhances academic performance and capacity to succeed in higher education studies in the science disciplines. The program encourages students to expand their learning in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics beyond the classroom to relevant issues such as genetic modification, transmission of Ebola and mental health issues affecting adolescents.
Seven secondary schools from Melbourne and Bendigo are Uni Bridges partner schools.
Find out more about the outreach activities available through the Uni Bridges program.
Uni Bridges Project Advisor
Dr Alison Drechsler
College of SHE Outreach
T: (03) 9479 6569