Posts By / Alex Wardrop

Festival of Social Science: widening participation and photography

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“I want to take a break… stop autopiloting … everything that you do makes you feel”

Student, 10/10/2016

In My Voice, My Story, we explore what it means to be a non-traditional student at university through the participatory photographic and story technique, photovoice. This technique sees students become the researchers of their own lives through taking photos and telling their stories.

The photovoice method is a participatory approach used to inform policymakers, so that meaningful policy changes can be shaped the lived experiences of the communities the policies are intended to serve.

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We focus on students from non-traditional backgrounds because we know how the lived experiences of these students are often marginalised by institutions and that this impacts upon their attainment and degree outcomes. Learning together in this way is a central tenet to our programme of Fair Access Research.

This research contributes to new, more participatory, ways of doing and thinking about widening participation which is a core tenet to BU’s Fair Access Research project.

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Students Who Bounce Back, led by Dr Jacqueline Priego

We invite you all to a workshop where we will listen to the students’ voices, learn from the students’ stories, gain insights into different research methods and work together to develop practical responses to what we see and hear.  

Monday 7th November 2016 10:00 -13:00 in the Fusion Building, F105

Book a place here!

You will gain insights into the power of arts-based social participatory research methods for eliciting deep stories and re-represented for social action. Having engaged with storytelling, participants will discuss ways in which the students’ lived experiences could shape policy changes and interventions to better enable students to belong.

 Feel free to share this invitation  with your colleagues or networks.

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For more information about this project or BU’s innovative Fair Access Research, email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

 

 

 

 

Learning together: widening participation with you

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We’ve been finding out how people working in higher education learn, think and feel about and put into practice widening participation.

Exploring the idea of widening participation as a process of organisational learning aligns with the core strategy of BU’s innovative Fair Access Research project — through working and learning together we can make a difference for students, where we work, how we work, yourselves and society.

At a time of uncertainty and inequality  in society and great changes in the sector, finding ways for us all to learn together in kinder and more effective ways matters.

Over the summer we have been doing some fieldwork and collecting sector-wide survey data to establish how different people in different organisations learn about widening participation.

We want to know how you, here at BU, understand, learn about and practice widening participation. We’ve designed a survey to capture your voices and experiences. 

In July we had the privilege of meeting with colleagues from across the university to explore some of these issues – we want to open that invitation to more of you through this survey.

For more information about the organisational learning project, email Dr Maggie Hutchings on mhutchings@bournemouth.ac.uk

For more information about BU’s innovative Fair Access Research, email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk)

To complete and share the survey follow this link.

Widening Participation Fieldnotes: Emotional Work

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BU’s Fair Access Research project concentrates on the idea of learning and working together to transform higher education. We are interested in how widening participation works differently in different institutions.

With this in mind, Maggie Hutchings and Alex Wardrop have been doing some fieldwork with colleagues in the north of England.

Widening participation is emerging as emotional work.  It is an emotional labour which sees personal stories intersect with and sometimes rub up against complex economic and political landscapes.

You can join us in this collective reflection and learning exercise by contributing to our survey. For more information about the organisational learning project, email Maggie on mhutchings@bournemouth.ac.uk

For more information about BU’s innovative Fair Access Research, email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Widening Participation: a practice of hope

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Silver Clouds, Billy Kruger and Andy Warhol 1966

Our Fair Access Researchers have written a blog-post exploring the necessity of hope and solidarity for widening participation – particularly when any glimpse of a silver cloud seems very out of reach.

Drawing on the work of José Esteban Muñoz, our researchers see hope as a troubling but very necessary thing for those working to transform higher education:

“Practicing educated hope, participating in a mode of revolutionary consciousness, is not simply conforming to one group’s doxa at the expense of another’s…It is not about announcing the way things ought to be, but, instead, imagining what things could be. It is thinking beyond the narrative of what stands for the world today by seeing it as not enough” (from Duggan and Muñoz, 2009: 278).

One of the cornerstones of the Fair Access Research project is that it is through working and learning together that just such a hope can be practiced.

Developing the thinking that underpinned an article that suggested how research can be used to better enable and embed an institutional culture that works for social justice, Maggie and Alex are now researching how the ideas, rhetoric and policies of widening participation are being learnt in different organisations. To contribute to this research and share your learning, please do complete our survey for the sector to help understand this more. They will be going up to Liverpool over the coming weeks to do some fieldwork with colleagues in different organisations.

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principal InvestigatorsDr Vanessa Heaslip and Dr Clive Hunt.

Working with Students’ Unions for Widening Participation

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The Fair Access Research project is having a busy summer! Hot on the heals of the powerful workshop Visible Students/Invisible Needs, we’ve been working with SUBU on the Partnerships for Widening Participation project.

This week we filmed some video clips with our new full-time officers and colleagues from across the university. Next week we’ve invited experts from the HE sector to come and participate in a workshop exploring why working with Students’ Unions matters for widening participation.

We are trying to nurture a culture of solidarity, trust and care to help transform what higher education looks like. 

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We want to explore how the sector is working and learning together for widening participation research, policy and practice. We’ve designed a survey to find out how the policies and ideas of widening participation are being learnt and lived in different organisations.

Feel free to share this survey with colleagues working in all areas of higher education. If you want to know more about the survey, get in touch with Maggie  or Alex.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Fair Access Research project through the year.

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principle Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip and Dr Clive Hunt.

 

 

Visible Students/Invisible Needs: a workshop

festival of learning 2 (2)Members of the Fair Access Research project would like to invite you all to a workshop exploring issues of widening participation on Monday 11th July.

During the workshop we will engage in debates and participate in group activities as we work together to make visible the invisible needs of all of our students.

There will be a poster exhibition showcasing the variety of widening participation activities happening across the university.

The workshop is open to staff across all faculties and for professional service staff interested in this area. We want to collectively work to make the university and higher education a more equitable, more socially just place for our students, our selves and our society.

Monday 11th July 2016

10:00 -14:00

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Lunch will be provided.

Here is our invitation. To book a place email awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk

Fair Access Research publication: Troubling ideas

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Bournemouth University is undertaking a large collaborative research study exploring issues of access to higher education. We are pleased to announce that members of the Fair Access Research project from BU and the University of Liverpool have had an article published in the influential Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning.

We explored how universities and colleges use research as part of their plans to widen participation and open up higher education to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.  They found that while national policy is leading to more institutions mentioning research as part of their Access Agreements; it tends to be in the context of justifying spending rather than leading to significant behaviour change.

The most recent strategic guidance from the Office for Fair Access emphasised the importance of building a community of practice across institutions, with practitioners and academics working and learning together to understand effective practice and the impact of interventions.

It is hoped that when the 2017-18 access agreements are published over the coming months we see a sector engaging much more with research in order to transform thinking, practice and the sector as a whole.

For more information of this paper email Alex Wardrop (awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk). For more information about the Fair Access Research project email Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk)

 

 

 

 

Visible Students/Invisible Needs: Fair Access Event

I Extend My Arms 1931 or 1932 Claude Cahun 1894-1954 Purchased 2007 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79319

I Extend My Arms 1931 or 1932 by Claude Cahun 

Monday 11th July

10:00-14:00 

EBC 202 and 203

We are living through a time of great change and discontent the sector and the country. Finding spaces for hope, solace and respect seem even more important then they usually do.

Members of the Fair Access Research project are trying to make just such a space on Monday 11th July.

We are extending our arms to you to invite you all to an event where we share with you our research and find ways work and learn together at a time when partnership is so vital.

During the workshop we will engage in debates and participate in group activities as we work together to make visible the invisible needs of all of our students.

There will be a poster exhibition showcasing the variety of widening participation activities happening across the university.

The workshop is open to staff across all faculties and for professional service staff interested in this area. We want to collectively work to make the university and higher education a more equitable, more socially just place for our students, our selves and our society.

Lunch will be provided.

Here is our invitation. To book a place email awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

Fair Access Research: Learning Together

The BU Fair Access Research (FAR) project is an innovative project which seeks to make a difference to students by transforming practice through collaborative research.

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We are co-creating research with students and practitioners (both professional and academic) as part of the university’s commitments to widening participation to higher education. We want to make a sustainable difference to students accessing, succeeding and progressing through university by undertaking co-creative research to transform practice.

Our approach to fair access research centres on learning together with students, colleagues from different academic and professional backgrounds and with stakeholders from across the higher education sector. By learning together we aim to:

  • support the student journey of people from underrepresented backgrounds
  • develop a transferable methodology, combining quantitative and qualitative methods
  • implement continued improvement  and social capital for organisational learning
  • establish targeted and reflexive dialogue inform and transform policy, practice and community engagement

Our research is concerned with process, with ways of thinking about and doing widening participation research to change behaviour within BU and beyond. Through learning together, our practice-led research will shape new understandings and changes in policy and practice for fair access to higher education. This Fair Access Research strategy aligns with Bournemouth University’s commitment to a fusion of research, education, and professional practice.

What we’re doing:

In addition to analysing data focusing on retention and attainment, some of the work we’re doing at the moment includes:

  • Working with colleagues from across the sector to develop new approaches to evaluating outreach
  • Undertaking research to enhance understanding of additional assessments in the admissions process
  • Co-creating research with two Undergraduate Research Assistants to explore student perceptions of disability
  • Finding out how academics understand their role in supporting students’ health and wellbeing
  • Working with Grow@BU to explore their impact on student’s lives.

The challenges facing widening participation are complex, educational disadvantage exists in a world where inequalities intersect and hierarchies are entrenched. We know that “without equity in education, inequality in society is reinforced and perpetuated”.

We can find ways to make participation in higher education more equitable if we harness our collective expertise and experiences.

We want to learn from and with you to support underrepresented and marginalised learners across the whole learning journey (from outreach through to graduation and beyond).

The Fair Access Research project is a catalyst to create a community of practice. If you are doing any work in this area, want to share ideas, test findings, evaluate interventions or embed social justice into your teaching and learning, get in touch! 

For more information about the Fair Access Research project and to share your ideas, please email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

 

Student Health and Wellbeing: staff survey

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This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. BU is putting on a series of free events to promote understanding about eating disorders and to encourage open and inclusive discussion.

As part of BU’s programme of Fair Access Research we are examining the how students experience university in different ways. And this includes how paying attention to students’ health and wellbeing.

Student health and wellbeing is a vitally important issue of universities. A recent survey by the NUS found that 78 per cent of students said they experienced mental health issues over the last year. More than half of the students said that they sought no support.

In a report to HEFCE it was found that students with mental health issues and social/communicative impairments (such as autism) have doubled since 2008-09. These significant increases are impacting the structures of support that institutions have in place, including academic support

Living with challenging health and wellbeing issues, and not always seeking support, shapes whether or not you stay and impacts upon attainment. It re-orients (or, perhaps, disorients) your whole student experience.

 We  are surveying academic staff to find out more about how they understand their role in supporting students’ health and wellbeing.

We have developed a short survey for you all to complete. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and we hope that it will lead us to develop ways to support you support your students.

Many thanks to all those who have completed the survey already (we’ve had a terrific response so far!). The survey will remain open for a few more weeks to enable as many of you as possible to share your experiences and feelings on this really important issue.

To complete they survey click here. Once completed please share with your colleagues. 

If you want any more information about the survey please email Alex on awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Supporting you to support students: a survey

As part of the Fair Access Research project we would like academic staff to complete this survey to help us understand how students are supported at BU. The area we are focusing on is support for students’ health and wellbeing, as this is becoming increasingly important for students and staff in universities. Your responses to the survey will help us find ways to support you in supporting students to succeed at BU.

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Questions of access to higher education do not end (or start) at the university gates. Widening participation involves an engagement with long and complex cycles of learning.

The Fair Access Research project seeks to understand the experiences of students from different backgrounds in order to develop practical solutions to enhance outcomes and maximise opportunities. This includes understanding how students are supported at BU.

In the words of Vincent Tinto“Access without support is not opportunity”. If we are committed to opening up higher education, we must be committed to supporting all students to succeed across the university learning journey.

A recent survey by the NUS found that 78 per cent of students said they experienced mental health issues over the last year. More than half of the students said that they sought no support.

In a report to HEFCE by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Researching Equity, Access and Partnership (REAP) it was found that students with mental health and social/communicative impairments (such as autism) have doubled since 2008-09. These significant increases are impacting the structures of support that institutions have in place, including academic support

Living with challenging health and wellbeing needs, and not always seeking support, shapes whether or not you stay and impacts upon attainment. It re-orients (or, perhaps, disorients) your whole student experience. And that includes your interactions with academic staff.

With all this in mind, we are surveying academic staff to find out more about how they understand their role in supporting students’ health and wellbeing.

We have developed a short survey for you all to complete. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and we hope that it will lead us to develop ways to support you with your students:

To complete the survey click here

Please complete the survey and share with your colleagues from across the university. Your responses will help us to find ways to support you to better support your students, particularly those most in need.

If you want any more information about the survey please email Alex on awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip (vheaslip@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Dr Clive Hunt (chunt@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Fair Access Research – an update

Learning together to promote opportunity, equality and achievement

Bournemouth University’s pioneering Fair Access Research is a practice-led, collaborative research project which aims to develop and expand knowledge and expertise in the field fair access to higher education.

This large collaborative research study is being led by Dr Vanessa Heaslip and Dr Clive Hunt and forms part of the research being undertaken in the Centre for Excellence in Learning.

The Fair Access Research project seeks to understand more fully, the complex intersections that are at play when it comes to participation in higher education, and to develop ways to enhance positive student experiences.

Underpinned by an ethos of inclusive education, a commitment to student engagement and practice-led research, our Fair Access Research team will learn from the expertise and experiences of students and colleagues to understand what issues arise across the student journey for disadvantaged and marginalised learners.

We are undertaking research in the areas of admissions and enrolment, attainment, retention and student experiences, as well as developing innovative ways of doing research and evaluation in widening participation.

Student experiences:

One of our key areas of focus lies in understanding how students conceive of their experience and to analyse how students from different backgrounds experience being a student at BU differently. To find this out, we are going to use an institutional-wide survey that’s been developed in partnership with SUBU and pilot tested over the summer.

Key findings from the pilot study include:

  • Factors influencing first in family to attend university are different from those in second or subsequent generation. Students who are first in family prioritised getting a good job whereas second generation students prioritised the more social side of higher education
  • Whilst differences in attainment were small, first generation students achieved on average higher degree outcomes
  • When we compared the experience of first and second generation students at BU, a stark difference in the key influencers for participation at university could be seen
  • It is not yet known whether the key influence of parents experienced by second generation students follows through to increased external, emotional and financial support during university.

Findings from the pilot phase have been submitted to Studies in Higher Education and a paper based on the development of the questionnaire has been submitted to the international Open University Widening Participation biennial conference. Findings from the pilot have also been shared on the British Education Research Association blog.

At the heart of our Fair Access Research project is an awareness that it is through learning together – as students, practitioners, policy makers, academics and wider communities – that we can best achieve an HE culture that promotes opportunity, equality and achievement for all students. With this in mind we are always keen to hear from colleagues and develop collaborative ways of working. Some areas interest include:

  • Developing effective and replicable models of WP evaluation and research
  • Understanding the pedagogical implications of WP
  • Surveying staff involved with admissions and enrolment
  • Understanding staff perceptions’ of student support

If you want to know more about the project as a whole or any area of the research, feel free to email awardrop@bournemouth.ac.uk