The differences in degree outcomes for students from backgrounds currently underrepresented at university in the UK is a challenge for most institutions, and it is an issue across the Higher Education sector. Recently, we have seen the publication of new guidelines on regulating student equality of opportunity from the Office for Students (2023), and further insights on reducing equality gaps for students with disabilities from TASO (2023).
In the spaces we work in as Learning Developers, we have insights into the barriers that generate equality awarding gaps at university and we are uniquely positioned to be able to contribute to the closure of these.
The new ‘Challenging Awarding Gaps’ community of practice provides a forum for Learning Developers interested in exploring ways to contribute to the closure of institutional awarding gaps affecting – for example – students from particular ethnic groups, students with disabilities and mental health needs, and students from low socio-economic areas. This community of practice is intended as a safe space for practitioners to reflect and find ways to become a better ally for underrepresented students at university.
The ‘Challenging Awarding Gaps’ community of practice aims to:
- Help Learning Developers share creative, sustainable ideas for contributing to wider institutional and sector efforts to remove systemic and structural barriers to student success
- Encourage Learning Developers to share knowledge and insights about approaches to closing awarding gaps and improving graduate outcomes for all students
- Support Learning Developers to consider EDI-focused action research and evaluation for interventions designed to improve student retention, success, and employability
This new community of practice will launch in June 2023 (exact date TBC) and meet on a quarterly basis. We are seeking interested members and invite you to join our mailing list here: Membership sign-up or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive details of the launch for this community of practice.
Office for Students (2023). Available at: Consultation on a new approach to regulating equality of opportunity in English higher education – Office for Students
TASO (2023). Available at: What works to reduce equality gaps for disabled students (pcdn.co)