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Recruiting and Retaining Widening Participation Students in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Bill Chambers Dean of Widening Participation.

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Presentation on theme: "Recruiting and Retaining Widening Participation Students in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Bill Chambers Dean of Widening Participation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recruiting and Retaining Widening Participation Students in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Bill Chambers Dean of Widening Participation President Geographical Association Liverpool Hope University College

2 Structure 1.Widening participation and students 2.Geography in school, FE, training providers, lifelong learning and University 3.Recruiting to geography opportunities and examples 4.Retaining in geography learning from elsewhere 5.Conclusions

3 1 Widening participation and students

4 Individual and Societal Benefits of Widening Participation Equity Competitiveness Economic (Blair) Social and cultural (Newby 2004) Health (Marmot 2004)

5 Who are Widening Participation Students? First generation in HE Social Class IV and V Post codes Ethnicity Disability Gender? State Sector

6 What are Widening Participation Students like? Young (18-30) Negative educational experiences Lack confidence and self esteem Less well qualified (?) Fewer life opportunities Fewer (academic) experiences Aggressive (?) Challenging? Disaffected? Poor therefore earn to learn Day–local provision (East Lancashire experience)

7 2. Geography in school, FE, training providers, lifelong learning and University

8 Whither Geography? School: decline from high base FE: decline from low base Training Providers: unknown Lifelong Learning: poor (OCN, Access, Learn Direct,WEA, U3A, FDs) or predictable (FSC, RGS, GA, extra-mural) Universities: declining; fewer and larger

9 What Can Geography Offer? Intrinsic interest and relevance …. Fieldwork Variety of learning and teaching strategies: lecture, practical, tutorial, fieldwork Practical experiences Bridge between sciences and arts ICT and GIS

10 Problems with Geography? Despite –GNU FDTL Phase ( –RGS/IBG Conference on WP June 2002 ( education) –RGS/IBG Geographers into Teaching surveys –Lecture at GA Annual Conference –LTSN Disability and Fieldwork Projects (ICP) –GEES 2002 and 2004 –2005 GA Conference strands on ethnicity and disability Little contribution to Widening Participation: awareness, aspirations, achievement except eg Hope, Glasgow, Chichester, Portsmouth, Durham, Hull, Leeds

11 Geography a Problem? What is geography? What should geography be at school and at University undergraduate and post graduate levels (Kneale 2002 Set free of pre-university training expectation? Geography for life and leisure) How does geography promote itself How do academics link with school GITS Geography for FE Geography for Modern Apprenticeships Geography for Lifelong Learning?

12 Geography a Problem? What is geography? Repetitious, spiral: (Kneale: rivers, Brazil?) Subsumed into other subjects with service role Fissiparous nature of geography and specialisation Academic and research and popular and school links? Career relevance and vocationalism RAE v l&t and outreach Charismatic communicators?

13 3. Recruiting to geography opportunities and examples

14 Geography and Widening Participation Recruitment Aim: entry to HE not necessarily Geography AimHigher 50% participation by 2010 Awareness – Aspirations – Achievement AimHigher Sub-Regional and National Plans and funding opportunities: Activities: Sub-regional, Institutional and Subject Continuity progression curriculum (not one offs) Progression routes Challenging exclusion and barriers by sectors Staff development school & HEI Research

15 Things to Do: Responsibilities & Opportunities Use HE resources: facilities, staff and students Facilities laboratories, equipment, maps, books and libraries, Mainstream into curriculum accredited modules as part of wbl or negotiated learning Staff: (workloads). Dont underestimate impact on relatively unsophisticated audience of professors and Drs and lifestyle and research (and caps and gowns!) Masterclasses: Lectures and lessons Student (hidden) mentors, volunteering, Higher Education Active Community Fund, Millennium Volunteers Student shadowing Subject-Related and Hidden Opportunities (Mentoring) Increase opportunities to do geography in AimHigher Enhance image and experience of geography through AimHigher Enhance teaching quality University links with schools, FECs and Training Providers Geography Prizes for every secondary school in area at Year 11 and Year 13 Support for theme days/weeks Shared fieldwork eg French Alps, Romania Parents Careers in Geography

16 4. Retention in Geography

17 Why Retain? Altruistic –Tragedy for all –Reflection on subject League tables (benchmarks? selecting/recruiting)) Cost –Waste cost of recruitment (cheaper to retain than recuit?) –Non-payment by HEFCE (clawback) BUT let some go!

18 Retaining (Widening Participation) Students Open not rotating door Not just widening participation students Not just UK (Pacific Rim) Not just post – 1992s

19 Reasons for Leaving (Yorke and Longden 2004) Poor quality student experience Inability to cope with course demands Unhappiness with setting of course and college Wrong course Finances Dissatisfaction with areas of university provision (Engagement)

20 Life History Approach Application and information Pre-induction (Student Progression and Transfer SPAT) Induction First term (clarity of purpose; quality of teaching; social networks; finances; pick-up; diverse needs; peer support) Critical moments Inter-semester and holiday breaks Career development and intention: purpose

21 Levels of Intervention Proactive – Reactive Blame and responsibility perspectives Student Subject Institution

22 Student Intervention Identify and target when and who most at risk When First semester First break, holiday Who First generation Clearing, late entrant or transfer No advice and guidance No interview Limited access to PCs and WWW Inadequate and/or incorrect course information (Alvarez-Cordova 2004)

23 What Can the Subjects Do? Constraints & Opportunities Constrained by: Life influences especially with WP students Student quality Other subjects (in Combined programme) Know/understand your students, be flexible London University of the Arts (Alvarez-Cordova 2004) Course problems cited 3x more often Teaching: single most serious issue (27%) Did not settle in group (68%)

24 Subject (Geography) Retention Get to know students, get students known Honest course details, transparency Front load 1 st year teaching (time, quality, individualise, support v autonomy) Assessment: first, formative, frequent, fewer, friendly Variety of teaching methods Fieldwork opportunities but respect individual circumstances (Hope 1 st Year) Individual needs and differences Designated tutor Friendly office Engagement and attendance: Snatch Pack, meet and greet, register, phone calls, text messages, fetch and carry. Mentors

25 Institutional Intervention: Support Data and tracking systems Empirical evidence not intuition or anecdote Student support (COMPASS) Specialist support (Writing Centre) Academic Alert Library and IT Services (access and make them work) Registry, Deanery, School and Award Offices SU Chaplaincy

26 Institutional Intervention Curriculum and Regulations Curriculum Regulations and Undergraduate Modular Scheme: Quality considerations? Modularisation; Examination timing, type, frequency, resits; Serial Extensionists*; length of year; contact time; attendance at University; Work ethic especially in Halls of Residence Needs of students living at home* Personal Development Planning Flexibility, asynchronous activity, VLEs, e- resources

27 Serial Extensionists: playing the system or supportive system? Liverpool Hope School of Sciences and Social Sciences 654 students: 9% granted extensions 88% only once Statistically significantly more likely to ultimately submit work (Norton, B,. And Gayton, E Unpublished)

28 Students Living at Home WP students study locally and live at home 3282 students from 4 Merseyside HEIs 23% live at home (18 pre-1992: 29% new unis) Financial motivation (78%) More in paid work Harder to fit in: less involved in student social life Integration of home and university life. Targeted publicity for local students. Freshers Week event for local students Local support group and space? Uni –wide awareness of circumstances of local students: commitment to work, local community, family. Clare Houldsworth: ESRC The Choices and Experiences of Higher Education Students Living in the Parental Home. University of Liverpool.

29 Institutional Intervention: Staff Development and Research Staff Development: Student & staff responsibility; financial and ethical views; Carrot and stick with staff; PGCLTHE, ILTHE, LTSN engagement; Research agenda: Data and records; empirical evidence not anecdote; Institute for Research into Developments in Higher Education; Aim Higher Research/Evaluation; Pedagogical Action Research Group, JGHE, LTSNs

30 5. Conclusions Opportunity not threat Simply good practice Use student and physical resources Challenge institutional structures and regulations

31 Selected References Alvarez-Cordova, V Innovate to Retain University of the Arts. Cook A The Roots of Student Attrition. Conference on Student Retention, University of Ulster Geography for the New Undergraduate Project Houldsworth, C. The Choices and Experiences of Higher Education Students Living in the Parental Home. ESRC R Changing A Levels, recruitment to HE and widening participation: The Shifting Agenda for Geography RGS/IBG Conference on WP June 2002 ( education) Student Progression and Transfer (SPAT), University of Plymouth and University of Ulster ( The First Year Experience and Students in Transition, National Resource Centre, University of South Carolina Tinto, V Leaving College: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2 nd ed) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Yorke, M. and Longden, B. (Eds.). (2004). Retention and Student Success in Higher Education. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press

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