The InclusiPHE project connects the social dimension of HE with another fundamental pillar of the EHEA – student engagement – and has as the main objective to contribute to creating a more inclusive environment at PHEIs, by creating sets of interventions aimed at increasing non-traditional student engagement in the life of their academic institution.
To respond to the needs and challenges of wider society students need to obtain key competencies for active citizenship. These competences can be developed through student engagement in university governance and participation in decision-making processes at various levels, inclusive strategies by student-led organisations, inclusive curricula, participative working methods and partnerships between PHE providers, local communities and civil society organisations. Also, to maximise the retention and success of non-traditional students, an inclusive learning environment is central and research has demonstrated that student retention and success is improved through effective student engagement and sense of belonging.
InclusiPHE will focus specifically on PHEIs which typically attract a more diverse range of students with a higher proportion of non-traditional students compared to more classical higher education institutions. PHEIs tend to have a higher percentage of adult students, lifelong learners, parent students, students from a migrant background, students with a disability, etc. enrolled. At the same time, PHE curricula have specific characteristics that influence student engagement which is often overlooked in European and national higher education policy discussions, such as shorter times spent in the institution due to many students studying at shorter courses and considerable time spent on practical placements outside the institution. InclusiPHE will explore the complex engagement of different students in the life of their institutions. The project aims to improve policies, mechanisms and practices for inclusive engagement of all students regardless of their background and circumstances – to engage students in all aspects of teaching & learning learning journey, quality assurance and institutional decision making, within the life of the institution and student life in the wider sense and also enabling them to fully embrace the democratic values of HE in their interactions with wider society.
- Analyse existing models and patterns within students’ engagement at PHE institutions.
- Identify potential good practices and innovative ways for more inclusive engagement of PHE-specific student target groups.
- Develop student-led strategies for creating more inclusive PHEIs and student organisations.
- Develop a capacity-building toolkit and pilot for inclusive student engagement training.
The project will result in:
- Increased information (quantitative and qualitative) on inclusive engagement of PHE students at European, national and institutional level.
- Better understanding of the impact of more inclusive students’ engagement in the governance, internal QA and curriculum development of PHEIs and in the advancement of equality and inclusion.
- Increased awareness of students, institutional leaders and policy makers on inclusive students’ engagement in the PHE sector and of the European vision and consensus on student engagement and social inclusion.
- Enhanced support of PHEIs and student organisations in their efforts to increase participation of non-traditional and underrepresented groups within PHE institutional formal and informal systems of students’ engagement.
- Provision of instruments, methods and tools PHE institutions and student organisations can apply to support the development of an inclusive student engagement culture within their institutions and organisations, showing how to integrate the concept of inclusive student engagement into their existing processes and quality managements systems.