Anthony Hudson, Folks like us – US experience of widening participation to postgraduate study
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9 January 2012
To be presented at the Widening Participation Conference 2012 'Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education', 24-25 April 2012
Folks like us – US experience of widening participation to postgraduate study
In England, Aimhigher provided a progressive and sustained range of activities to raise the aspiration and achievement of learners with the aim of widening participation to higher education (HE). Whilst there is a well developed body of literature and mature policy on initial access to HE, entry to postgraduate study is under researched and widening participation beyond undergraduate level has received limited policy attention.
In the US, the McNair Program (part of the federally funded suite of TRIO programmes), seeks to widen participation to postgraduate study by preparing students from under represented groups through a programme of cultural enrichment, scholarly activities, mentoring and independent research.
Undertaking a pilot study to explore and understand the experiences of a small group of McNair scholars, the research aimed to explore early learning experiences and how a programme of structured academic and enrichment activities enables learner from underrepresented groups to progress to postgraduate study.
Initial analysis of the data revealed the multiple barriers such learners have overcome to access HE, highlighted which elements of the programme learners perceive to be important in assisting them to progress.