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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2011

Amanda Ingleby

Purpose – This case study outlines, and critically reflects upon, Aston University's 10 year journey towards mainstreaming widening participation. It begins in 1999 when…

Abstract

Purpose – This case study outlines, and critically reflects upon, Aston University's 10 year journey towards mainstreaming widening participation. It begins in 1999 when the institution had no Widening Participation Strategy or infrastructure, working towards the current position of a strategic and institution-wide focus on student diversity and inclusion. Critical reflection on this journey details key enabling factors, challenges faced and suggestions for practice.

Methodology/approach – The case study outlines the underlying principles of Aston's approach to widening participation. Key principles include a full student life cycle and evidence-based practice approach, inclusive practice for all, and staff development. These principles are illustrated through examples of practice such as the Student Peer Mentoring Programme, the Learning Development Centre and the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice.

Findings – Practice has been informed through seeking to better understand the changing needs of an increasingly diverse student profile. Diversity goes beyond the student groups targeted through widening participation programmes.

Practical implications – The case study reflects on challenges and enabling factors for the management of change, and suggests practice which may be transferable to other HE institutions.

Originality/value of paper – Aston has adopted a full student-life cycle from outreach work with primary schools, through to pre-entry and transition support, learner development, and on to graduation and employment. This is in contrast to the more predominant focus within the HE sector, upon the early stages of the student life cycle. Aston University has also embedded widening participation within strategies for learning and teaching, and for employability.

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Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-904-3

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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2011

Steve Kendall

Purpose – To offer an account of widening participation practice at the University of Bedfordshire as a case study of how higher education can approach ‘access’ and embed…

Abstract

Purpose – To offer an account of widening participation practice at the University of Bedfordshire as a case study of how higher education can approach ‘access’ and embed practice across the institution. The paper explores the contribution of widening participation policy and practice to the development of the University.

Approach – The paper considers the part played by widening participation policy and practice in the development of the University from the organisations out of which it has grown; it provides a brief overview of some of the ways in which the University pursues and fulfils its widening participation objectives; and it offers some reflection on the prospects for widening participation in the context of new arrangements for funding students and higher education institutions.

Findings – The paper provides some outline evidence for the success of its practice and for its mainstreaming across the organisation and offers some reflection on areas where further work is required to develop the University's strategies and processes.

Originality/value of the chapter – The paper provides an account of a UK university with a particularly strong commitment to widening participation, which it has sustained throughout a period of growing reputation and increasing pressure to adopt a more ‘traditionally’ selective approach to recruitment and participation. Widening participation remains a core value within the university and continues to be one of its defining characteristics.

Details

Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-904-3

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Victor Pitsoe and Moeketsi Letseka

Notwithstanding the social gains of the post-apartheid dispensation in South Africa, the country remains an unequal society in terms of race, class, gender and…

Abstract

Notwithstanding the social gains of the post-apartheid dispensation in South Africa, the country remains an unequal society in terms of race, class, gender and socioeconomic status. In this chapter, we provide an overview of access to success and widening participation in higher education (HE) in South Africa. Our thesis is that open distance learning (ODL) has the potential to empower the previously marginalized majority African populations by equipping them with requisite HE qualifications, and thereby moving them up the value chain. The authors explore the challenges of access and widening participation in HE by unpacking the historical nuances of access to it in South Africa. The authors explore the ideological foundations of conceptions of access, participation, and success by teasing out the notion of ‘epistemological access’. According to the South African philosopher of education, Wally Morrow, merely providing access to HE does not assure ‘epistemological access’. The authors argue that ODL can potentially create an enabling environment for the previously marginalized majority of Africans, not only to access HE in big numbers but also to have ‘epistemological access’.

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Contexts for Diversity and Gender Identities in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-056-7

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Book part
Publication date: 9 May 2018

Elisabet Weedon

This chapter examines widening access to higher education in Sweden from the 1960s onwards and contrasts the influence of two different political ideologies — social…

Abstract

This chapter examines widening access to higher education in Sweden from the 1960s onwards and contrasts the influence of two different political ideologies — social democracy and neo-liberalism. It provides an overview of the higher education system and student support. Sweden has made extensive use of alternative routes into higher education to enable access for those lacking traditional entry qualifications. These routes are outlined, changes over time are described and Sweden is compared to other European countries drawing on Eurostudent data. These data indicate that Sweden has made considerable advances in widening access through the use of alternative routes. However, the conclusion questions the extent to which current higher education policy, influenced by neo-liberalism, can lead to further progress.

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Higher Education Funding and Access in International Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-651-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

David Tonks and Marc Farr

The general context for this paper is access to higher education (HE) in the UK but the particular concern is participation. An important distinction is drawn between…

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Abstract

The general context for this paper is access to higher education (HE) in the UK but the particular concern is participation. An important distinction is drawn between access and participation. The heterogeneous characteristics of HE and the complex choice processes of applicants mean that a finer level of description and analysis is required which goes beyond aggregate measures of access and examines the extent and the nature of participation. Equality of opportunity provides the underpinning for this paper, access to HE is the starting point, the focus is on participation and the approach is empirical and pragmatic. In 2002, the target for access to UK HE was set at 50 percent, which requires attention to shift from broad measures of access towards detailed measures of participation; particularly when the agenda is one of social inclusion, and when certain groups within society are still significantly under‐represented and disadvantaged at the level of participation.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1992

Alan Hurst

Illustrates the way in which, within the current debate aboutwidening the participation rates of under‐represented groups in highereducation, the situation of people with…

Abstract

Illustrates the way in which, within the current debate about widening the participation rates of under‐represented groups in higher education, the situation of people with disabilities has tended to be overlooked by commenting in detail on three recent policy documents. Also interprets these to suggest how their recommendations might offer improved opportunities to this disadvantaged group: finance is identified as a major obstacle whether funding individual students and funding the institutions where they study. Discusses the current methods of providing money, outlining the shortcomings of the allowances made to students and indicating the costs to an institution of developing quality provision using the case study of a polytechnic. Suggests how widening the participation of people with disabilities might be accomplished.

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Personnel Review, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Abstract

Details

Transitions from Vocational Qualifications to Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-996-6

Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2018

Liz Thomas

Increasing diversity in higher education (HE) – or widening participation (WP) – is now a concern worldwide (Billingham in this volume, Chapter 1; Bowes, Thomas, Peck, &

Abstract

Increasing diversity in higher education (HE) – or widening participation (WP) – is now a concern worldwide (Billingham in this volume, Chapter 1; Bowes, Thomas, Peck, & Nathwani, 2013; Shah, Bennett, & Southgate, 2016). However, we all know that access to HE is not sufficient; access needs to be accompanied by success – staying on the course, gaining a good degree and securing graduate-level employment. In this chapter, it is argued that in order to equalise student outcomes a ‘whole institution approach’ (WIA) is required. Evidence is drawn from two studies (each led by the author): one focussing on improving student retention and success in HE, which concluded that a WIA is required (Thomas, Hill, O’ Mahony, & Yorke, 2017, pp. 133–135). The second commissioned by the Office for Fair Access to better understand a WIA to WP (Thomas, 2017). The chapter discusses three key findings: the importance of both cultural and structural change; the role of evidence and the need for a deliberate process of change. These findings are illustrated with examples.

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Access to Success and Social Mobility through Higher Education: A Curate's Egg?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-836-1

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Book part
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Laila Nordstrand Berg and Rómulo Pinheiro

Access to higher education (HE) has been on the global policy agenda for decades. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are inherently biased toward serving the needs and…

Abstract

Access to higher education (HE) has been on the global policy agenda for decades. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are inherently biased toward serving the needs and expectations of the middle classes, to the detriment of more disadvantaged groups. This creates a significant dilemma in democratic contexts, as in the country of this study: Indonesia. This chapter focuses on the (missing) link between actors who have the potential to influence the development of the sector, consisting of; government, HEIs, industry, and local stakeholders. Evidence based on the data suggests that there is a missing link on how influential the different actors in civil society are regarding developing and implementing policies, and how this is affecting widening participation in HE.

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University–Community Partnerships for Promoting Social Responsibility in Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-439-2

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