Civic Responsibility: Russell Group research work Alex Thompson Senior Policy Advisor The Russell Group of Universities University of Birmingham University of Bristol University of Cambridge Cardiff University University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow Imperial College London
Senior Policy Advisor
Research is important to:
Staff: 5 research/policy staff
Civic responsibility research work aims to increase understanding and awareness of:
The contribution of Russell Group universities to communities and civic society
The role of Russell Group universities in widening participation to higher education
Ensuring equal opportunity for students from all social backgrounds to study at a research-intensive university
Issues explored to date include:
Universities encourage students, staff and alumni to build a stronger democratic society by promoting and participating in community service.
One way for universities to widen participation is through providing greater opportunities for staff and students to volunteer
For students, experience in the community enhances education, increases employability skills and builds civic mindedness.
Our universities could better publicise their widespread volunteering work, and its value to students and society
Main barriers to volunteering1
1. 2004 Canada Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating
Russell Group institutions operate a variety of targeted access schemes aimed at widening participation by students from certain under-represented groups.
Special entry routes such as foundation years and 2+2 models are also used by Russell Group institutions to widen participation to certain courses.
Such programmes aim to tackle the barriers of relatively poor attainment and lower aspirations amongst non-traditional students.
These initiatives are costly, and there are challenges in extending them to target larger numbers of students.
The root causes of the under-representation of ‘low-income’ students in RGUs
What are the root causes?
What more can Russell Group universities do to address them?
What has been the impact of variable fees to date?
How to ensure that variable fees don’t put off more disadvantaged students in future?
Variable tuition fees and access to highly selective universities
What impact does IAG in schools have on applications to RGUs?
What practical steps can RGUs take to improve IAG available to prospective students?
Advice and guidance available to prospective students
What are current patterns of participation in PG education by different social groups?
Areas of potential concern for RGUs ?
Patterns of participation in postgraduate education
Should HE supply be adapted to support WP?
What should be the priorities for RGUs in this area?
Adapting higher education provision to support widening participation
What has been the impact of WP interventions to date?
What should we be investing in for the future?
Evaluation of widening participation activities
We undertake a number of activities to disseminate our findings and priorities relating to civic responsibility: