University Theme for Course Monitoring 2007/08 - Widening Participation
The University’s Academic Standards and Development Committee have agreed to
trial the use of a specific theme for Course Monitoring. For 2007/08 the theme is
Widening Participation. The aim is to encourage evaluation of performance in this
area, leading to action.
The University has recently adopted a new Widening Participation Strategy that
includes the following aims:
i. To further increase the proportion of the Home student population from
working class backgrounds, in all parts of the University.
ii. To ensure that Home students from working class backgrounds are retained,
achieve, and progress to successful careers, at the very least, at the same
rates as students from other social classes.
The existing set of course monitoring statistics does not break down cohorts by social
class. The University Central Planning Unit has produced a special data set in
respect of social class that shows course performance against school and other
benchmarks where appropriate. These are available for all UG courses on the
Academic Affairs website. The information on social class comes from UCAS, based
on information provided by students on the occupation of the highest earning person
in their household (for younger students usually the occupation of a parent). Course
teams are asked to reflect on recruitment, retention and achievement.
Where student numbers are small the data can be less meaningful, but teams will be
asked nevertheless to consider their course’s position in relation to the overall
position at school level.
For PG courses social class data is not available and we are asking PG course
teams to reflect on what they know of the profile of students on their course.
In planning a response to WP issues, course teams are advised to seek support from
the WP team and Learning and Teaching Coordinators for their college. Key points
of contact are:
CCW – Susie Wright (WP) and Ellen Sims (L&T)
CSM – Oonagh McGirr (WP and L&T)
LCC – Chris Bendon (WP) and Dr Margo Blythman (L&T)
LCF – Kate Hill and Michele Buchanan (WP) and Dr Alison James (L&T)
Courses are asked to write, in particular, in this year’s report, about their evaluation
and any action agreed on WP. Boards of Studies will be asked to have this as a
specific item for discussion. Deans and Heads Reports will similarly be required to
report on WP in the existing format of issues and areas of good practice for action at
school, college and University level.