Attracting and increasing student diversity
HEIs across the country and colleges in Scotland are being asked to prioritise widening access and increasing student diversity across a range of equality characteristics and socioeconomic backgrounds.
However, it can be challenging to translate high-level commitments to widen access into effective practice with measurable outcomes.
ECU, supported by consultant Prof Liz Thomas, is working with a number of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as colleges in Scotland, to help attract and increase student diversity, to develop more inclusive approaches and to be better able to target underrepresented groups.
We’ll be bringing together resources, tips and advice from the HEIs involved as they progress to help you with your work on improving student diversity in subjects where certain groups are underrepresented.
In 2014/15, ECU worked with Scottish HEIs piloting an action learning approach. The initial findings from this work are detailed below, and in the case studies on the right of this page. Building on this, we are now looking at longer-term initiatives with 13 HEIs and 10 colleges in Scotland over the next 3 years.
For further information contact David Bass.
For the rest of the UK, in summer 2016 ECU commenced work with 12 HEIs around barriers faced by underrepresented or disadvantaged groups at their universities (or in specific courses, departments or levels) including:
- Men into healthcare
- Men into teaching
- Black and minority ethnic (BME) students into:
- Teaching and education studies
- Undergraduate Arts & Humanities
- Postgraduate Museum Studies
- Female students into engineering
- Local Muslim and white working class boys into undergraduate studies
- Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), mental health difficulties, or on the autism spectrum
The project focusses on designing collaborative teams from across the institution to bring together qualitative and quantitative research to inform specific interventions (using positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010 where appropriate).
Most institutions are currently within or completing their research stages. A webinar to update the sector and a series of blogs were conducted in winter 2016, and further updates for the sector are likely to be available in June-July 2017. The Increasing Diversity and Attracting Diversity project teams will have an opportunity to share learning and successes at an event in Edinburgh in June.
For further information contact Jessica Moody