Researching Under-Represented Groups: How to Empower Students through Targeted Learning Development Support

Mckendry, S., O'Neill, D., Roberts, L. and Sheridan, N. (2013) Researching Under-Represented Groups: How to Empower Students through Targeted Learning Development Support. In: 10th Enhancement Themes Conference, Glasgow, UK, June 2013,

151017.pdf - Accepted Version



The Scottish Government has tasked Higher Education Institutions with improving the recruitment, retention and progression of students who are classified as living within the lowest deprivation quintile according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivati on (Scottish Government, 2012). The Scottish Funding Council allocates ringfenced funding for this purpose and negotiates specific outcome agreements with each institution to measure and evaluate success. As an initiative funded in this way, the School of Health and Life Science’s Learning Development Centre (LDC) at Glasgow Caledonian University is required to support students from low participation postcodes. The LDC provides enhancement - led, learning support to all students in the School through a blend of timetabled, in - programme teaching, workshops and one to one appointments. Support for, and monitoring of, those identified as belonging to the ‘multiple deprivations’ category (MD20s), however, is becoming an increasing priority. Whilst clearly a desira ble aim in terms of social justice and widening participation, it is less obvious how best to target and measure support. The risks of stigmatising, alienating or even creating dependency amongst what is surely a heterogeneous group are manifold. This pape r will report on research conducted by the LDC members that attempted to better understand the diverse group of ‘MD20 students’ who attend, or potentially attend programmes within the School. The aim of the project was to provide an evidence - base on which further support activities could be built. Cognisant of the diversity of the group in question and the risk of labelling or categorising students, the project employed a narrative or biographical approach which aimed to capture and explore the individual l ife histories of students (Field, Merrill & West, 2012). In particular, it investigated the paths their lives had taken to lead them to study at university, how they felt about the MD20 focus and what kind of support, if any, would empower them to succeed in their studies. Alongside in - depth, qualitative exploration of the issues, academic performance and baseline demographic data were collected to gather as full a picture as possible of the group in question.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tasler, Dr Nathalie
Authors: Mckendry, S., O'Neill, D., Roberts, L., and Sheridan, N.
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
Published Online:06 June 2013

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