Embedding Academic Literacies for Belonging in First Year Criminology

  • Juliana RyanEmail author
  • Helen McLean
  • Gemma Hamilton
  • Ruth Liston
  • Gregory Stratton
  • Rebecca Hiscock


The number and diversity of criminology undergraduates is growing, increasing the need to scaffold students’ transition into the discipline, especially in the first year. Although embedding academic skills in the curriculum is now a routine in many disciplines, it is relatively new in criminology. This chapter provides insights from a project to embed academic skills in the two first-year criminology subjects at a large metropolitan university. We present preliminary findings based on statistical and thematic analysis of student surveys and thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with the teaching team. These preliminary findings illuminate the disparities in the perceptions, expectations and experiences of academics and students around the importance of student engagement with academic skills, for academic success and belonging in the discipline. Academics’ perceptions and expectations about academic engagement, preparation and attendance were sometimes also misaligned with the dispositions and behaviours that students appeared to demonstrate. However, over time some students showed skill development and growing awareness of the importance of academic skills for successful study. We offer some insights into inclusive learning and teaching, prompted by questions about the expectations and responsibilities that constitute successful learning and disciplinary belonging. Our aim is to share practices that can make learning and teaching academic skills ‘worthwhile for both student and teacher’, to quote an academic participant in the study.



This work was funded in 2018 by small grants from the RMIT University Belonging initiative and from the Criminology and Justice Studies discipline in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliana Ryan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helen McLean
    • 1
  • Gemma Hamilton
    • 1
  • Ruth Liston
    • 1
  • Gregory Stratton
    • 1
  • Rebecca Hiscock
    • 1
  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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