Background: Despite numerous recommendations by governments, researchers, and education policymakers the recruitment, retention and success of undergraduate indigenous students in higher education is not commensurate of the wider student population. There is minimal evidence of valuing indigenous worldviews and perspectives in curricula, and effectiveness of educational strategies to strengthen indigenous student success rates in completing undergraduate studies.
Objectives: To conduct an integrative systematic review of educational strategies to promote academic success and resilience in undergraduate indigenous students.
Methods: Major databases of Scopus, ProQuest, Informit and Web of Science were searched. Inclusion criteria were peer reviewed research articles from scholarly journals that referenced indigenous, aboriginal, First Nation or Māori students in undergraduate programs in higher education. The search was limited to English language and studies conducted from 1995 to 2014.
Results: The search yielded 156 research papers which reduced to 16 papers that met the inclusion criteria. The included papers were critiqued from a standpoint theory approach that reflects feminism, cultural respect, and humanism. Much of the literature describes issues, and provides qualitative analyses of experiences, but empirical evaluations of interventions are rare.
Conclusions: There was a gap in current research evaluating strategies to improve indigenous student success and resilience. Key strategies for indigenous student success are multi-faceted, layered support, underpinned by the principles of respect, relationships, and responsibility. Implications for nursing and midwifery education, research and health care practice are outlined.