Bedford Branch Seminar
This event is free. Tickets are available here.
In this paper, I will explore what 'widening participation now means in an ever-changing Higher Education sector. While widening participation initiatives were initially premised upon improving acess to Higher Education for under-represented groups, it is my concern that with a rise in market mechanisms such as the 'unconditional offer' (Turner, 2018), universities are simply increasing, rather than widening, participation.
As universities' recruitment and selection of students is intricately tied to their institutional marketing and position in the sector, it seems as if a 'bums on seats' approach (Shrank, 2018) is almost a necessity for universities;' survival in a competitive and over-crowded marketplace. With the increased pressures of neoliberalism, marketisation, and accountability, I will argue that recent iterations of 'widening participation' are both unethical and undemocratic. Drawing on the work of Nel Noddings, Michael Sandel, and Stephen Ball, I will conclude by offering some suggestions of how we might be able to 're-humanise' efforts to widen participation in Higher education.