A strategy to improve access and success for underrepresented students at a UK university

A strategy to improve access and success for underrepresented students at a UK university

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Our client was a large UK Russell Group university.

The university needed a long-term strategy for underrepresented students

A Russell Group university required a university-wide, long-term strategy and implementation roadmap to recruit and support students from underrepresented groups at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The strategy needed to mobilise staff across the university to support the agenda.

Nous used data and consulted widely to deliver a whole-university strategy

Nous comprehensively analysed the university’s student demographic data to understand the key issues for access, continuation, attainment and progression. We then consulted widely and iteratively with staff and students on the vision and priorities for the strategy.

During the process we tested emerging findings with key senior staff through interactive online workshops. Once the strategy had been agreed Nous developed a detailed implementation roadmap, establishing the horizons for delivery, the accountabilities for each element of the strategy and the overarching governance structures to support it.

The university is now a national leader in postgraduate access and success

The university now has a university-wide strategy that brings together broad areas of work and provides an access and student success lens. It is one of very few universities in the UK with such a comprehensive strategy for students at all levels, including postgraduate researchers.

The strategy has accelerated efforts to improve access and success for postgraduate students through expanding previously undergraduate-only initiatives and policies. It has also helped the Equality and Inclusion team to set stretching targets for a more diverse workforce of both academic and professional staff to support the strategy.

What you can learn from the university

A whole-university strategy that involves multiple functions is required to achieve access and student success at all study levels.

Initiatives and policies that work at undergraduate level can be applied to postgraduate taught and research students.

Considering equality and inclusion alongside this agenda is crucial for success.