The Widening Participation Unit (WPU) has successfully rounded off 2017 with various notable achievements.
Over the year, the team, developed and delivered research-based programs to support and engage over 1300 pre-university and university students, who fall under various categories of low SES disadvantage, as identified by the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) criteria.
In all, WPU delivered seven student-focused programs, funded by HEPPP, under the LEAP (Learning Education, Aspiration and Participation) banner. These included LEAP Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring), LEAP UP (University Preparedness), LEAP Refugee Transition Support, LEAP LINKS Virtual Classrooms, LEAP LINKS Robotics, LEAP LINKS Digital Literacy and the LEAP Roadshow.
Of these LEAP programs, four were developed and piloted in 2017, making for a very industrious year. Meanwhile, many other HEPPP funded programs were supported by WPU and delivered by various teams and departments across the University.
WPU collaborative partnerships with numerous University portfolio teams, and relations with external partners, were strengthened and broadened during the year. Outreach initiatives coordinated by WPU to engage new community groups in areas of Greater Western Sydney, as well as regional state districts and townships of NSW, enabled the University to develop connections with potential students and communities who face disadvantage.
Finally, WPU hosted a highly successful and well received inaugural symposium ‘Towards an Inclusive University’. The University’s community of widening participation partners, including academics, non-university practitioners and students were invited to partake in a day of contemplative and engaging discussions, on topics relating to the equitable access, participation and success of all students in higher education.
The symposium highlighted the common will to grow existing collaborative synergies, to further advance efforts aimed at levelling the playing field for all students. Action through these partnerships will contribute to the University’s goal of achieving inclusiveness, as outlined in the Strategic Framework.
The event provided a platform for discussion and an outline for potential future developments. It also offered the WPU an opportunity to showcase the sum impact achieved by the unit over the past six years.These highlights were captured in the following video, produced in collaboration with the Learning Innovation Hub team.