Oxford Brookes lecturer recognised for widening access to higher education

Wednesday, 09 May 2018

National Education Opportunities Network

Dr Richard Huggins, Principal Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, has been shortlisted for an award from the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON).

In their fifth year, the NEON Awards celebrate success in widening access to higher education, and also recognise the students who have progressed to higher education from disadvantaged backgrounds and their journey.  

Richard, based in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture, has been shortlisted for the NEON Contribution to Widening Access Award, which recognises the work of individuals as part of the process of recognising widening access work overall.

His main academic areas of expertise are around substance use and misuse, homelessness and social inclusion and he has been engaging in community based projects and initiatives for the last 20  years in these areas and beyond.

This has included work with a number of statutory and voluntary agencies and organisations at the national and regional levels.

He is currently involved in a four year-long EU funded research project on multiple barriers to social exclusion in seven countries across Europe and South America. Richard is also a director of two social enterprises that focus on supporting marginalised and excluded individuals and groups to access education and employment opportunities.

Teaching on the Brookes Engage programme is so rewarding, I take a keen interest in the progression of the learners I’ve worked with over the years and what they have gone on to achieve.

Dr Richard Huggins, Principal Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University

Richard was also nominated for his involvement as academic champion and sponsor in the creation and development of the University’s sustained outreach programme Brookes Engage, which was shortlisted for a NEON Award in 2017.

Brookes Engage is an 18-month access programme of free activities and events designed to help young people get into university. The programme, running for Year 12-13 students since 2015, is designed to support participants to make a successful transition to university whilst also providing them with experiences that will develop skills and attributes that will be beneficial in the world of work.

Commenting on being shortlisted, Richard said: “It is great to have been shortlisted for a NEON Award. I am very passionate about the importance of widening participation activities and have always encouraged academic colleagues to get involved.”

“Teaching on the Brooke Engage programme is so rewarding, I take a keen interest in the progression of the learners I’ve worked with over the years and what they have gone on to achieve. I enjoy being able to bring my academic research and knowledge into the outreach sessions and also take what I have learnt from the outreach sessions into my teaching.”

In 2016 Brookes Bridges, the a programme of free short courses for adult learners from a disadvantaged area or background, won the NEON Widening Access Initiative (Outreach) Award

The NEON Awards 2018 will take place on 17 May at the Palace of Westminster in London and will be hosted and presented by George Marsden MP, Shadow Minister of Higher Education, Further Education & Skills. More information can be found on the website.