Brookes one of 12 universities selected for project to increase student diversity

Friday, 22 April 2016

Oxford Brookes students group

Oxford Brookes University has been selected to work on a new project by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) to address underrepresentation in student admissions at higher education institutions.

The project Increasing diversity: recruiting students from underrepresented groups involves 12 universities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its aim is to help institutions attract and increase student diversity, to develop more inclusive approaches and to be better able to target underrepresented groups.

Each will look at addressing underrepresentation across a range of subjects including healthcare, education, media and museum studies, exploring and developing links with schools, colleges and employers from within and outside their regions.

We are pleased to have been selected for this exciting project. Oxford Brookes is committed to widening access and increasing participation of groups underrepresented at the institution, and we are keen to extend any relevant findings from this project to further strengthen our good work.

Alice Wilby, Director of UK Recruitment and Partnerships, Oxford Brookes University

Projects will consider elements of the student journey, including pre-application and the learning environment, and will work with potential and existing students to develop robust evidence of what issues are and how to address them.

Alice Wilby, Director of UK Recruitment and Partnerships at Oxford Brookes University said: “We are pleased to have been selected for this exciting project. Oxford Brookes is committed to widening access and increasing participation of groups underrepresented at the institution, and we are keen to extend any relevant findings from this project to further strengthen our good work.”

The ECU will be meeting with institutions in the coming months to support them develop their evidence base and action plans. They will be sharing research findings, as well as challenges and successes associated with the initiatives throughout the lifetimes of the projects. This will take the form of blogs, opinion pieces, and discussion webinars which will be of use to all institutions undertaking work in this area.

Alice continues: “Gender equality, particularly increasing female representation in STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) is a key area of focus. The University already holds an institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award and a Silver Award for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, demonstrating our commitment to advancing the careers of both female students and staff in these areas. Our Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, a main provider of STEMM subjects, is applying for a Bronze Athena SWAN Award later this year.

“We will be using this project to enable us to focus on creative ways to increase the number of female students studying subjects like mechanical engineering, utilising our strong relationships with local schools and colleges.”

More information about the project can be found on the ECU website.

Oxford Brookes works with local schools and colleges in Oxfordshire and in Swindon offering a range of widening participation activities to raise the aspirations of students and better inform them about higher education. It has also run a successful Associate College Partnership scheme for the last 12 years offering students alternative ways to gain locally-based foundation and degree courses. For more information visit the website.