Inclusion and diversity in higher education jan

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Information about Inclusion and diversity in higher education jan

Published on February 24, 2014

Author: Sarrasaf


Inclusivity and Diversity in Higher Education Opportunities, Troubles or Tensions? Sarra Saffron Powell Educational Development

A quick riddle…. A father and son are in car crash. The father is killed instantly, the boy is critically ill, is taken by ambulance and rushed to theatre. The surgeon takes one look at him and says, “I can’t operate on him, he’s my son!” How can this be?

The surgeon is his mother.

Inclusivity, I would argue… Inclusivity = “Value concept” (conceptual noun/to do with values) When we are presented with a value – we tend to incorporate it into an existing value system (“interpretative filter”, - Brook field, 1998 and measure worth (how does this fit in my value system; do I value this?) = positionality – we tend to take a position Inclusivity = “Value concept” + positionality In a value framework – we are nudged towards considering the worth of our current values (critical self-reflection) : Inclusivity= “Value concept” + value framework + positionality + criticality + reflection = ? = Opportunities, Troubles or Tensions?

Opportunities, Troubles or Tensions? ? = your personal pedagogical position Dependant of a range of factors: • Your notions of the FUNCTION of Higher Education (Barnett, 2000) • Your notions about your ROLE as an educator • Your curriculum design and assessment design DECISIONS • Legislation explore these in relation to concepts of inclusion and diversity in a critically reflective frame.

Let’s start with a definition • What is inclusivity?

Inclusivity • not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something • (of language) deliberately avoiding usages that could be seen as excluding a particular social group (Oxford Online Dictionary)

“Discourses” of Inclusion “At a time when prevailing neo-liberal policy aims to position higher education as an economic venture and students as customers, discourses of inclusion are vital. Terms such as access, widening participation, equity, equality and diversity, and lifelong learning commonly feature in discourses of inclusion related to higher education. The shifting meanings and fluid uses of these terms serve as an indication of the increasing tensions between neo-liberal economic forces and the role of higher education in modern society” Widening Participation Conference 2012 - Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education

“Fair access” The notion of ‘fair access’ has its roots in liberal concerns to promote access to higher education to individuals from ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds who are deemed to have high levels of potential ability. In recent years, admissions policies and practice have become an explicit focus of national policy in the UK, underpinned by concerns to promote fair access to all students recognised as having the potential to benefit from HE. Fair Access? Research on admissions to higher education

HE landscapes HEA Governance – you won’t pass your PGCert assignments without it. What else is inclusivity responding to? Why is inclusivity important?

Why is inclusivity important? PGCert/HEA accreditation “Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners” (HEA, 2012) Inclusive practice = Best practice

Fees (economic contracts and consumer choice) Access Agreements (Panel on Fair Access to the Professions 2009) HEFCE funding Student expectation Digital technologies NSS – Guild agendas Employment Strategy Russell Group Competitors UoL Strategy and Policy (Strategic Aims) Improving Student Experience Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) Internationalisation (global economy) QA standards Professional Bodies and Councils Co/extra curricula (Liverpool Life) Curriculum Review Employers – CBI skill sets …others? Low economic growth ……

What is widening participation (WP?) • Major structural/cultural challenge to HEIs, requiring higher rates of involvement and rates of achievement to those who have been traditionally underrepresented and systematically excluded Inclusivity is an attempt to address systematic occlusion to the right of education = REMOVING BARRIERS

WP - inheritance Gov. targets (2006) 50% participation rate 18-30 year old in HE by 2015 Low - Socio economic background Disabled Aim Higher Care leavers Ethnic minorities Financial incentives HEFCE strategic objectives

Some drivers and legislation Enhancing the student experience? Economic model Internationalisation £9,000 fees “economic contractual logic” Cousins, 2012 “Massification” of HE Staff:students Access Agreement (fee capping, £50,000 penalties) Quota of Students Policy (AABs) Student Charter

“Toxic correlations/Access and social identities” Or “Reality check”? Professor Louise Morley University of Sussex, UK Widening Participation Conference 2012 Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education

Barriers • • • • Engagement (pre-admission) Admissions procedure Retention Engagement in university culture ‘student experience’ • Language • Physical barriers • Lit. indicates identity ‘simple sense of belonging’ – is key.

Institutional responses • Russell group cf post-1992 HEIs = exceptionally poor • Russell group cf Russell group = exceptionally good • WP a key strategic aim • High levels of resourcing • HEA inclusive cultures programme – high levels of commitment • Go Higher access programme (revised, resourced) • Policy auditing/implementation • Student representation (LGoS)

• Student support infrastructure (student services) • Student support learning skills development (iLearn, workshops) • Curriculum Review/design (diversifying assessment, delivery, internationalising curricula) • Teaching qualifications (improving teaching practice) • Induction Review (transition support) • Peer mentoring system • Faculty Skills Advisors • Development of Digital Literacies/elearning • ..more

Good practice • Inclusive pedagogy = good practice • takes a coherent approach which is anticipatory and proactive • has a strategy for delivering equal opportunities and diversity policies • involves the whole institution • matches provision to student needs • incorporates regular reflection, review and refinement of strategies and methods that actively involve disabled students. • (

And where are you in all this? [hand out on dichotomies for reflection]

Refs Barnett R. (2000) ‘University knowledge in an age of supercomplexity ‘, Higher Education 40: 409–422 [accessed 21/1/2014] Brookfield, S., (1998) Critically Reflective Practice, The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 18, pp. 197-255 Morley L., (2012) Widening Participation Conference 2012 - Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education Gosling D., (2002) Models Of Peer Observation of Teaching, Learning and Teaching Support Network Generic Centre

Further resources • • • • • • • • • • Beyond Prejudice: Inclusive learning in practice from the Learning and Skills Development Agency offers strategic and practical pointers for the provision of an inclusive learning environment. DEMOS: Online Materials For Staff Disability Awareness (2002) is an online resource aimed at academic staff, and examines the issues faced by disabled students in higher education. Modification of examination and assessment arrangments are also discussed. Engineering Subject Centre Guide to Working with Disabled Students (2nd Edition June 2005) includes practical ideas and case studies. Premia resource base awareness and development materials are for everyone involved in making the research environment more accessible for disabled students. SCIPS (Strategies for the Creation of Inclusive Programmes of Study) database provides information to support academic staff in improving access to the curriculum for disabled students. SENDA compliance in Higher Education: an audit and guidance tool to accessible practice within the framework of teaching and learning 2002, including a useful section on assessment. Teachability (2000) offers information and resources for academic staff to help in the provision of an accessible curriculum. Techdis has relevant resources and references, including a database of information and products to assist disabled students and staff. University of Bristol Access Unit provides fact sheets for supporting disabled students. University of Wolverhampton - Learning, teaching and assessment: good practice guides for staff teaching d/Deaf students in art, design and communication and in science and engineering.

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