We take a research-informed approach to access and participation, leading and participating in research projects alongside academic colleagues within the University and the wider community. Please find our latest publications below.
Widening Access Transitions to Postgraduate Study, Rowena Piers, Al Blackshaw, Dr. Manuela Williams and Nicola Sutherland, October 2019
Reflecting upon the previous research undertaken in 2015/16 into the transition experiences of Widening Access students within the School of History, colleagues from the Widening Access Team, Careers Service, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences came together to secure funding to expand the research into postgraduate transitions. In 2019 a Research Assistant was employed on a part-time basis for 6 months, to specifically investigate any potential barriers - real or perceived - that may prevent WA students from embarking upon postgraduate studies. Some of the findings are available via the slides below:
Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students and Staff in Further and Higher Education, Dr Matson Lawrence and Dr Stephanie Mckendry, forthcoming early 2019, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Supported by the Scottish Funding Council, this collaborative project was established in response to the Commission on Widening Access' Final Report, particularly Recommendation Four which asked that 'Universities, colleges, local authorities, schools, SFC funded access programmes and early years providers should work together to deliver a coordinated approach to access which removes duplication and provides a coherent and comprehensive offer to learners'. The specific aims of the research were to map existing WA activity within Glasgow and the west of Scotland, highlighting gaps and duplication/overlap across the learner journey; to understand issues around WA and targeting in the region, and the effectiveness of current access activities. Quantitative and qualitative research was undertaken with relevant stakeholders in the field of WA and school education to inform proposals for a regional approach. The Project Board has now established work streams to consider implementation of the recommendations.
There is increasing evidence that trans people face significant challenges studying and working in higher education. Research undertaken at the University of Strathclyde to explore the experiences and challenges of this diverse group discovered a far greater proportion of students considering or having left their course, and issues around learning and teaching, placements and confidentiality. Whilst staff are keen to support trans students, there is a lack of awareness or training to provide background context, a wider understanding of terminology or the support requirements that might improve their student experience. Similarly, trans staff encountered barriers in relation to applications and other elements of daily working life. Building upon that research, and supported by AdvanceHE, this project explored what works to effectively raise awareness and promote change and leadership. The team created and evaluated training materials, policy templates, mapping documents and multimedia resources that inform HE leaders and practitioners about the lived experiences, support needs and views of trans students and staff. The project worked with a sample of institutions to pilot and evaluate the materials to determine how to effectively increase awareness of the transgender population, build capacity and motivation to improve support and provide practical resources to enable positive action.
This SFC funded project explored the experiences of trans and gender diverse applicants, students and staff at Scotland's colleges and universities. Alongside the project report, the team have created a website https://trans.ac.uk/ with resources and information for the sector.
University Open Days are a key source of information which help potential students to make decisions about which institution and which course is the best for them. Students who live in some areas, however, are much less likely to attend Open Days than others. To investigate the reasons behind this, in 2016 we used funding secured from the Quality Assurance Agency as part of their "Transitions" Enhancement Theme to employ a Strathclyde student to conduct research into this area. Working with two local schools, our researcher interviewed a number of senior school pupils to identify what was stopping them from attending Open Days. Key issues emerged as a lack of awareness, lack of funding, and lack of confidence. The final outputs of the research are available below:
Recent research from MCR Pathways suggests that just 2% of care experienced people enter HE, and care experienced students who enter HE have a lower retention rate than the general student population. In order to investigate issues faced by care experienced students during their university studies, the Widening Access team recruited a current care experienced student to conduct a research project in August 2016. The aims o fthe project were to determine: the retention and progression isues which impact care experienced students; what best practice exists in the sector for students who require resits, academic suspension, or register with attendance; and what potential barriers care experienced students face in accessing placements, internsthips and international opportunities. The research highlighted barriers such as accommodation and financial hardship. The final report of the research is available below:
Strathclyde recognises the challenges which Student Carers face. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care to a friend or family member who cannot manage without their help due to illness, disability, a mental health problem, or addiction. Student Carers have more responsibilities than most students, and this can impact upon their studies. In 2016 we secured funding from ALDinHE (Association for Learning Development in Higher Education) which we used to employ a Strathclyde student - a carer herself - to undertake research into how best to support this vulnerable group. The research highlighted the key challenges which Student Carers face and also generated recommendations, which formed the basis for the Unviersity of Strathclyde's Student Carers Policy. The research outputs are available below:
In 2015, using funding secured from the Quality Assurance Agency's "Transitions" Enhancement Theme, we employed two undergardaute Strathclyde students to investigate the transition experiences of Widening Access (WA) students within our school of History. Amongst other things, the research found that WA students perceived themselves as less academically capable than their non-WA peers, and that they faced a variety of barriers which prevented them from undertaking study abroad periods. Off the back of this research, we developed short-term funded study abroad opportunities, such as the Radboud Summer School and the Common Purpose Global Leadership Experience, to support our students to be able to undertake interantional options. The final outputs of the research are available below: