Mind/Body/Spirit: Exploring the New Context of Private Higher Education in Australia - Using the Experiences of New Graduates

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Grace, Felicity
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Rebecca Stringer

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2005
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Otaga University, Dunedin, New Zealand

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Mind/Body/Spirit - Abstract: This paper reports on a series of test interviews I have begun with the first Queensland graduates of a small private counselling college with offerings in Perth/Bunbury, Melbourne and Brisbane/Redcliffe in Australia - In part this paper explores the in-depth semi-structured interview as a technique for capturing the experience of graduating students within the private higher education sector. Three themes emerge from the rich data of these exit interviews. First there is the wider evidence of new educational institutions emerging as the 'Nelsonic Era' further privatizes higher education. Secondly there is the particular ground on which the college thrives as a challenge to existing psychology and counselling models wherein cognitive behavioural therapy dominates the university academy. In particular the body based Anthroposophic and Buddhist focus of this college renders visible the struggles for recognition of new disciplinary knowledges within the psychosocial sciences. In this paper I argue that this example of private education might also reflect a different approach to new feminist knowledge. Formal registration and accreditation as a recognized training institution, side steps the need for disciplinary/institutional recognitions like those offered women's studies in the 1980s, in favour of feminist and Buddhist informed body based counselling training of a standard acceptable to professional associations of counselling. Finally these interviews offered a rich focus on each individual student's experience as the 'boundary riders' the very first graduates of a new campus at the frontier of new educational directions in Australia.

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Australasian Political Studies Association Conference 2005

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