The access tradition: widening participation and the University of Bedfordshire

The access tradition: widening participation and the University of Bedfordshire

Book: International Perspectives on Higher Education Research
Year: 2011
Authors: Kendall S
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
Purpose - To offer an account of widening participation practice at the University of Bedfordshire as a case study of how higher education can approach 'access' and embed practice across the institution. The paper explores the contribution of widening participation policy and practice to the development of the university. Approach - The paper considers the part played by widening participation policy and practice in the development of the university from the organisations out of which it has grown; it provides a brief overview of some of the ways in which the university pursues and fulfils its widening participation objectives, and it offers some reflection on the prospects for widening participation in the context of new arrangements for funding students and higher education institutions. Findings - The paper provides some outline evidence for the success of its practice and for its mainstreaming across the organisation and offers some reflection on areas where further work is required to develop the university's strategies and processes. Originality/value of the chapter - The paper provides an account of a UK university with a particularly strong commitment to widening participation, which it has sustained throughout a period of growing reputation and increasing pressure to adopt a more 'traditionally' selective approach to recruitment and participation. Widening participation remains a core value within the university and continues to be one of its defining characteristics.
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