Presentation on theme: "Investigating the transition to university for widening participation students: a case study of Newcastle University Dr Simon Tate (and Dr Peter Hopkins)"— Presentation transcript:
Investigating the transition to university for widening participation students: a case study of Newcastle University Dr Simon Tate (and Dr Peter Hopkins)
Background and Aims Project motivated by a concern that widening participation students are marginalised in a degree course with a large intake of privately educated students. The vast majority of Newcastle Geography widening participation students are also local students – due to the Newcastle University PARTNERS programme and other WP initiatives. The vast majority also live at their parental home due to (a) cost and (b) university policy on halls of residence. Awarded £4526 by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES).
Methods Participatory diagramming and group discussions with first year local Geography students
Methods Participatory diagramming and group discussions with first year local Geography students Individual interviews with the same students exploring the transition to university – Thinking about the academic transition – Thinking about their social transition
Findings: Academic Transition Students are left unprepared for the massive change in approach to the study of geography at university. (Lauren) There needs to be a fundamental change in A-levels to move from a spoon-fed learning experience. (Amy) Sixth form students go from using a small selection of very large board topic text books to using massive amount[s] of literature spanning journals, books and research papers. Trying to get used to this way of working made starting here a bloody nightmare at first. (Andrew) Looking back my A-level course didnt enable students to think for themselves and consider other possible explanations…it could be said facts were taken at face value. (Rob)
Findings: Academic Transition No perception of academic disadvantage amongst WP students. Marks of widening participation students substantiate this. PARTNERS programme perceived as giving students an advantage – academically (and socially): The main reason I applied for Newcastle was because of the PARTNERS course. (Rob) Obviously Newcastle has one of the best reputations for teaching and especially in geography. (Anne) Geo1096 Geographical Study Skills compulsory for all first year students.
Social Transition Challenges Initial strong feelings of isolation Sense that many students felt very marginalised for the first few weeks of university. Lack of access to HoR and student night life key to this. After that, transition or adaption very quickly completed – more quickly for the non-local widening participation students First 2 weeks key
Social Transition Challenges Travel time and a fragmented timetable I know it sounds ridiculous but sometimes when there is only one lecture timetabled for a day, and you are going to be on the bus for over an hour to get to uni, I sometimes think is it worth it? (Jack) I only come into Uni on days when there is a class on and do my reading and essay writing at home. Trouble is that doesnt help you get to know other people. (Kevin)
Some Solutions…… Early intervention Integration v consolidation Bespoke session in induction programme for WP students First year Geography fieldtrip helps students to get to know each other: Interviewer: Have you made friends within Geography? Joy: Yeah, what really did it was the Langdale fieldtrip Timetable flexibility (e.gs seminar groups, tutor groups) Participatory teaching can aid transition