Widening access to healthcare education through a Foundation degree: are we creating a dynamic of engagement? NET 2013Student Experience 5th September 2013, University of Cambridge Julie Wintrup, Kelly Wakefield and Kirsten Wythe
Contents • Research findings • University's goals • Creating a dynamic of engagement • What next?
A conversation at a workshop organised by our Transition Project Team led to today’s presentation. We asked ourselves, after so much hard work attracting students through WP, what happens to them?
Findings from longitudinal research with Fd students • Interviews: social / friendship groups key to persistence; professional qualification and improved career opportunities a key motivator; many barriers described • Progression data: high drop out (19%) in keeping with Fds generally, particularly men • All other ‘groups’ persisted in proportion with numbers of entrants; all ‘groups’ (30% of Fd graduates) went on to subsequent professional qualification in proportion with numbers of entrants (within 2 years)
Community Outreach Particular focus on the following under represented groups: • Care leavers • Black and minority ethnic students • Mature students • Disabled students
Comparison of outreach values and research findings: • Valuing of experience, diversity, local connections, the commitment and ‘hard route’ taken to HE • Focus on welcome, positively nurturing a sense of belonging, seeing people ‘like themselves’ around campus and at Freshers’ events (or not) • Opportunities to learn with and from each other – about different life/work experiences and opportunities, using social media in place of face-to-face, to build supportive networks, at odd hours
So how might these shared values and concerns be taken forward in our educational practice and institutional processes?
Creating a dynamic of engagement • Track record of literature, research, work from UoS • Foskett (2005) • Fuller and Paton (2006) • Fuller et al (2008) • Johnston et al (2011) • Wintrup et al (2012) • Informal conversations with 9 members of staff at UoS • Discussions centre on how cross-institutional initiatives can inform one another
Use of data to create a dynamic of engagement? • Themes from discussions: • Data (prior to university) • Data (during university) • Barriers and enablers • We have the data…. • Ethics, practicalities and potential misuses
Whatnext? Somequestions: • Are we a ‘learning organisation’? • Students and colleagues agree on the benefits of better planning around needs and expectations – how can we improve? • Are we using terms – ‘widening access’ and ‘widening participation’ – similarly, meaningfully? • Is better feedback needed on how well we welcome and engage students? (ie what ought we ask / measure?) • Is it possible to create new forms of engagement – across departments / functions, with students, with each other?
References: • Wintrup, J., James. E. & Humphris, D. (2012/13) Beyond Inequality? A case study of progression, achievements and experiences of health and care workers in higher education, 2005- 2011, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 14: 3, pp. 172 – 189. • Wintrup, J., James, E., Humphris, D. and Bryson, C. (2012) Emotional work: students realising, negotiating and overcoming barriers. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 4:2, pp. 170-185. • Wintrup, J., Wakefield, K. and James, E. (In Press) Meanings of engagement to part-time, working students in Higher Education in E. Dunne and D. Owen (Eds) The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education. Emerald Publishing Group.