The Impact of Adopting a Mainstreamed Model of Service Provision: The Experiences of University Staff Members

Sophia Harryba, Shirlee-ann Knight


A qualitative case study examined the challenges of service provision and utilization regarding international students at an Australian university. Using a Social Constructivist Grounded Theory methodology, 73 participants were interviewed, including 38 staff members (16 academic, 22 non-academic), 25 international students, and 10 domestic students. The university had recently changed its model of service provision from specialised to mainstreamed. All students became viewed as one cohort, with the same needs, accessing the same services. Challenges associated with this move were discussed, and it was found that opinions about the effects of the new model depended on the staff members’ role at the university and how much contact they had with international students. Teaching and support staff members reported struggling when working with international students under this model of service provision, and staff members reported facing challenges in providing support outside of their role descriptions, lack of specialised staff, and lack of specialised services. It was concluded that the use of this model, added to increasing enrolment numbers and decreasing support both for staff and students, could lead to an increased likelihood that some staff view and treat some international students with a “deficit” lens.


ESL, Challenges of multicultural teaching

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