This case study explores the organisational culture at Edge Hill University (EHU), seeking to identify how practitioners operate to provide equitable opportunities for access and participation in community engagement and higher education.
EHU works within a governance model, where there is shared responsibility for the widening participation (WP) agenda. This is promoted across and within its three faculty structure of Education; Health; and Humanities, Management, Social and Applied Sciences (HMSAS) strengthened by the WP service. Innovative, collaborative and pro-active approaches to WP are encouraged with staff inspired to take ownership of decisions and have autonomy. This allows the freedom to engage in institutional and community projects for example, incorporating pre-entry experiences such as taster sessions, as well as post-arrival teaching, and providing access to guidance and student services.
There is no doubt that educationalists can play an instrumental role in the academic and personal development of students with whom they interact, this interaction is in part governed by the institutional culture. This may be empowering or disempowering both on them and the local and wider communities they serve. Social justice in education requires active work by the whole of the institution allowing ‘communities’ to change both within and out of the university, where environmental circumstances may negatively impact on shaping the learning journey (LJ) of students.
The study presents an argument which drives the WP agenda forward encouraging engagement of educationalists, policy makers, social justice activists and communities to collaborate in pushing forward innovative, flexible and pro-active ways to develop meaningful knowledge.
Duckworth, V. (2011), "Chapter 8.3 Developing an Organisational Culture where Social Justice and Collaboration Runs Alongside Widening Participation", 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, Bingley, pp. 311-317. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2011)0000006030
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