For many non-mainstream students, the First Year Experience (FYE) constitutes an induction into an esoteric community of practice. It represents a fundamental challenge to their social identity, and as such is often fraught with debilitating frustrations and failure. This paper, centred on an in-service diploma course for police officers as a case study, explores the nature of this challenge, and formulates a response that promotes structural equity in educational outcomes. It argues for the reframing the FYE around ‘recognition work’ - the making visible by students and educators, of who they are and what they are doing vis-a-vis academic Discourses. This reconceptualisation allows us to foreground issues of Discourse dissonance and construct equitable designs for learning. This case study illustrates the need for a critical reframing and its broader relevance to educational praxis in mainstream as well as professional education courses in higher education.
*The views expressed in this paper are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSW Police nor of Charles Sturt University