Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Conceptions of widening participation and non-traditional students in higher education
Author: Connor, Colleen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4759
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Research into widening participation has considered both the barriers to participation and the experiences of 'non-traditional' students in higher education. However, less attention has been given to the meaning of widening participation and 'non- traditional' students for those working within higher education settings. This study explored the different conceptions of non-traditional students held by staff in a new university through an examination of responses to widening participation policy and the representation and management of diversity in the student population. The study employed a case study strategy which utilised an ethnographic method, with documents, meetings, discussions and a series of interviews being the principal sources of information. It was informed by a critical perspective that drew upon theoretical conceptions regarding the inclusion of minority groups. Key findings related to the divergent perspectives and varying meanings attached to the term 'non-traditional student' and the influence of the 'business case' in the local interpretation of widening participation policy. Different understandings of the need to develop the academic skills of non-traditional students and confusions around dealing with dyslexia were raised. Evidence was also found of contradictory pressures impacting on lecturers' approaches to diversity and attitude to support. Student empowerment was largely found to be based on ideas of economic improvement although there were some examples of lecturers taking what could be viewed as empowering approaches in their teaching practice. Recommendations were made regarding the need for greater specificity when defining students and their support needs. Consideration was also given to the training and staff development required for lecturers to promote inclusivity and fully recognize the positive potential of diversity in the student population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available