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What can be learned from a business case approach? Kath Bridger Jenny Shaw.

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Presentation on theme: "What can be learned from a business case approach? Kath Bridger Jenny Shaw."— Presentation transcript:

1 What can be learned from a business case approach? Kath Bridger Jenny Shaw

2 What we learned about… widening participation and student diversity the business case approach benefits and costs of WP/student diversity higher education in the UK

3 Widening participation A portmanteau term (Watson, 2006) It may be: A desired outcome A process, activity or set of activities A type of student WP as an outcome - student diversity

4 Approaches to WP Sands (1998) Attitudes: cultural restorationists; modernisers; liberals Layer (2002) Models: join the club; different provision; take it to the people; ….. Jones and Thomas (2005) Discourses: academic; utilitarian; transformative

5 Different approaches to WP AcademicDifferential Provision Transformative Assimilation Group-focused (targeting) Peripheral and operational Externally driven Separation or compensation Group-focused (targeting) Peripheral and operational (bolt- on) Pragmatic Mainstream adaptation Individual focused Central and strategic Externally and internally driven

6 Why engage with a WP agenda? Because we have to? (Legal arguments) Because we want to? (Ethical arguments) Because it is in our interests? (Business case arguments)

7 The business case approach Diversity paradigm Difference = asset Internal arguments Model for change

8 Benefits of student diversity Increased student numbers Tapping the pool of talent Improving teaching and learning Access to funding New roles and markets Complying with legislation Reputation

9 Costs and risks Additional cost of supporting the learning experience Costs of low retention (links to funding model) New course development (for new student markets) Academic standards Diverting funding from core business

10 Barriers Internal barriers context specific, e.g. Other activities such as research being more highly valued Institutional history and perceptions held by prospective students (and some staff!) Fear of adverse effect on existing student cohorts (students also flagged this) External barriers, e.g. funding system

11 Critical success factors Senior staff commitment Mission commitment - this is what we are Existing student body

12 Summary learning points Business case approach is helpful: diversity paradigm; clarity of investment and return There are benefits of student diversity - requires further investigation Stratification of HE correlates with different approaches to diversity - possibly different lived experiences for students

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