Presentation by Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki

13 October 2017

On the 13th October from 10-11am, Dr Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki from the University of Auckland will give a seminar titled Indigenous Methodologies: Storying the success of first in the family students

This research presentation is about pioneers: people who are first in their family to enrol in university (FIFU) and succeed. Much research mulls over factors affecting participation and achievement in higher education, but there is little known about the factors that influence the success of FIFU students, and almost nothing on those who are from minority backgrounds. I focus here on Māori & Pacific Island communities.

This project is positioned from a strength-based perspective where established indigenous research frameworks and protocols are privileged in the research design in order to encourage first in the family students to story their journey into and through the university. By privileging indigenous forms of knowledge and ways of being we assert the critical role that culture plays in the success of FIFU and indigenous students. This project addresses the need to critically examine the role of universities in recruiting, retaining and supporting FIFU students to succeed.

Our analysis of students’ narratives revealed a number of themes that will be covered in this presentation; the importance to Maori & Pasifika families of one of their family venturing into the ivory tower; the contribution of family and friends to their journey; the notion of success, institutional structure and practices that help and/or hinder FIFU success. This presentation will also offer strategies for engaging with FIFU students who are from indigenous backgrounds.

Dr ‘Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki is a Lecturer in the Centre for Learning & Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland. Her current research work is on widening participation for minority and first in the family students’ success. ‘Ema was part of the project ‘First in the family students succeeding in universities’, a global collaboration among university colleagues from Auckland, Sydney, Cape Town, and Thompson Rivers, Canada. The project was funded by the Worldwide Universities Network and supported by each of the partner universities, and resulted in a book forthcoming in 2018, Understanding Experiences of First Generation University Students: Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Methodologies. ‘Ema is of Tongan descent and is first in her family to graduate from university and work in academe.

Event details

  • 13 October 2017
    10.00am - 11.00am

  • Fisher Library F03, Level 2 South Meeting Room 249

  • Free


registrations closed