Purpose – This case study outlines, and critically reflects upon, Aston University's 10 year journey towards mainstreaming widening participation. It begins in 1999 when…
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.
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…
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.
This article analyses how higher education institutions (HEIs) have responded to government policy to increase the participation rates of students from lower social…
This article analyses how higher education institutions (HEIs) have responded to government policy to increase the participation rates of students from lower social classes through their admissions policies.
The article uses documentary evidence and interviews with institutional policy makers to examine HEI admissions policies and the rationale underpinning them.
This research found that admissions policies owed more to the nature of demand than attempts to widen participation. Old universities tend to ask for high A‐level grades and were sceptical about the value of vocational qualifications, but demonstrated a willingness to be more flexible where there was a low demand for courses. Less prestigious institutions tend to recruit more students from working class backgrounds because of the markets they were able to recruit in rather than because of their widening participation policies.
Whilst this study is based on a small number of cases, the evidence suggests that institutional admissions policies perpetuate the problem of working class disadvantage. The ability of HEIs to review and change their admissions policies is, however, constrained by the way government policy encourages a competitive and stratified system of higher education. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, but those wanting equality of opportunity in HE need to continue to put pressure on institutional policy makers to develop more inclusive systems of admission.
By interviewing key institutional policy makers this article has been able to provide insights into the rationale behind HEI policy on admissions and widening participation.
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…
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.
This chapter examines the development of an Entrepreneurship Education initiative (Triple E: Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship) in the Higher Education…
This chapter examines the development of an Entrepreneurship Education initiative (Triple E: Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship) in the Higher Education context. The initiative is further contextualised by a dynamic policy framework concerning widening access as a major priority for the Scottish Government. In addition, the initiative is based on innovation in contemporary pedagogical design and further policy drivers supporting the development of graduates with an enterprising mind-set and graduate attributes (articulated by employers) and interpreted by academics and public sector stakeholders as relevant for graduate labour market competitiveness. The chapter examines Entrepreneurship Education literature and presents a case study which examines pedagogical design and normative assumptions, participant progression, (students and staff) and the engagement of external stakeholders. The case study describes and analyses the key design principles for inclusive and accessible Entrepreneurship Education within the context of widening participation policy. A discussion on the practice of achieving inclusive and accessible Entrepreneurship Education explores intra-institution policy, drivers enablers and cultural and resource constraints. The chapter concludes with a summary of the design principles on inclusivity and accessibility in Entrepreneurship Education and discusses attempts to mitigate the challenges presented by a widening participation policy.
This chapter examines widening access to higher education in Sweden from the 1960s onwards and contrasts the influence of two different political ideologies — social…
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.
Purpose – This chapter explores the reasons why higher education institutions (HEIs) have engaged with learners before entry into HE and examines the ways in which this…
Purpose – This chapter explores the reasons why higher education institutions (HEIs) have engaged with learners before entry into HE and examines the ways in which this transformed institutions.
Methodology/approach – The chapter draws on evidence collected in the South West of England about the ways in which HEIs worked with schools and colleges to reach out to learners with the potential to progress to HE but who come from backgrounds with little tradition of accessing HE. This evidence is set within a literature framework to contextualise the findings. The chapter considers outreach work as part of the whole student lifecycle beginning before university entry and continuing beyond graduation.
Findings – The chapter finds that outreach work is particularly valuable when it is undertaken by partnerships. Within a partnership framework, each institution can contribute their specialist expertise to provide a coherent, progressive programme of activities for young people to help them to consider progression to HE. Partnerships facilitated knowledge transfer so that all institutions benefitted from the lessons learnt particularly with respect to the training of student ambassadors and the use of data for targeting and evaluating the programme.
Implications – Pre-entry engagement helped learners to acquire more information about HE so that they could make informed choices about mode of study, subject and institution. This, in turn, improved retention rates and helped HEIs to smooth the transition into HE, to diversify their entry profile and to enhance the educational experience.
Student support in higher education (HE) is a matter that has received, and is still receiving, rigorous attention in the research environment. HE faces challenges related…
Student support in higher education (HE) is a matter that has received, and is still receiving, rigorous attention in the research environment. HE faces challenges related to the throughput rates nationally and internationally and, as a result of that, most African countries have prioritised support in HE institutions, particularly universities. Amongst the groups of students targeted to receive student support are the marginalised students,1 particularly students with visual impairments (SWVI). Developed countries have tirelessly attempted to ensure that SWVI are supported through aggressive policy positions and technological interventions. This chapter seeks to provide insights on the support programmes for SWVI in HE institutions in Africa. The chapter follows a qualitative approach and uses the social justice theory (Rawls, 1971) as a conceptual lens. Drawing on this theory, it can be argued that the support programmes and services provided to SWVI in Africa limit their participation in HE and constrain effective learning and, ultimately, perpetuate social injustice.
In recent years, tertiary education has been cited as a key factor in development and personal prosperity for many nations and has widely been associated with various…
In recent years, tertiary education has been cited as a key factor in development and personal prosperity for many nations and has widely been associated with various social and private benefits in many countries. It has widely been considered to be a vehicle for individuals’ social mobility and economic prosperity, especially for students coming from poor and disadvantaged families. Despite its potential, most higher education systems have recently faced a number of challenges that have compelled them to amend their general style of functioning and ways of doing things. One of the areas affected has been the ability for educational systems to guarantee the inclusion and accessibility of the marginalized to higher education. Whereas in recent years higher education institutions have witnessed increased demands and a surge of applicants for entrance in universities; changes in the higher education systems and the emergence of trends such as privatization, cost-sharing and education budgets cuts have emerged as blockages to access for some of the students. This chapter examines trends in Tanzanian higher education and assesses the barriers to accessibility of loans and grants to students from poor families and its implications to participation and inclusion.