Purpose – The case study described here showcases the way in which the University of South Australia (UniSA), an institution with a long history of being at the forefront of educational opportunity for all and with equity principles embedded in its founding legislation, has responded to the mainstreaming of widening participation and engagement. It does so by focussing particularly on the Foundation Studies access education programme, the cornerstone of the University's widening participation strategy for adults (although in Australia the vast majority of university entrants are aged 18 years and above and, therefore, by definition, categorised as adults).
Approach – We provide an overview of the development and structure of the Foundation Studies programme, the national and institutional contexts in which it operates, and key characteristic of students who undertake the programme. We also report on participation and success rates and briefly describe how successful access education students gain admission to undergraduate study.
Social implications – UniSA's approach to equity and widening participation provides an effective means of redress for people who have experienced educational disadvantage. It does so not merely by providing access but by also actively preparing them for future academic success. That success in turn builds social capital – serving a wider and increasingly pertinent imperative in today's global market economy.
Value of chapter – The case study described presents what has proven to be a viable and effective model, one which suggests strongly that socio-economic and educational disadvantage can be overcome and that ‘second chance’ does not imply ‘second rate’.
Klinger, C.M. and Murray, N.L. (2011), "Chapter 4.2 Access, Aspiration and Attainment: Foundation Studies at the University of South Australia", Thomas, L. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 137-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2011)0000006014
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