PhD Studentship: Transforming Lives, Inspiring Change: Investigating the social impact of university access strategies and approaches
Pay & Expenses: £15000 p.a. (including £1000 research expenses) and tuition fees for 3 years. Please note, the award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate only; those not eligible to pay UK/EU tuition fees must demonstrate that they can fund the difference.
Overview: The social mobility in Higher Education agenda recognises that widening access to University by extending opportunities to gain a place of study is not enough. It is also essential to investigate what happens to students once they embark upon a course, the support they receive, the experiences they undergo and the journey they take through different stages of the learning lifecycle. These phases form the platform upon which activities and learning opportunities can be effectively evaluated, innovation can be facilitated and targeted activities can be developed to address identified priority areas. The elements that contribute towards these objectives are incorporated within the ‘Whole Lifecycle Model’ which recognises that entry into the University of Northampton (UN) through enrolment onto a course, the retention of students during study and progression onto successive programme phases needs to culminate in successful achievement of an academic award. The approach also builds upon UN’s Changemaker Campus designation; recognising that learners are individuals and that routes into, through and out of HE differ for a range of reasons.
This research project is particularly timely in view of proposed legislation Fulfilling our Potential – Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice (BIS, 2015) which includes a strong political focus on social mobility in Higher Education.
The study will:
- examine the social impact of UN’s initiatives to support students with protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010) which are traditionally under-represented in Higher Education
- investigate the barriers to successful transitions for students who come from groups which are traditionally under-represented in Higher Education
- explore current areas of good practice and how these can be disseminated across UN and impact students’ potential for employability
The research will utilise a mixed-methods approach including quantitative and qualitative data. By combining theory and practice alongside innovative methods of social impact measurement, the study will contribute to academic knowledge as well as improve UN’s provision for supporting transitions and aspirations of students who come from groups which are traditionally under-represented in Higher Education.
Applications: Applications are welcomed from candidates with a first degree (first, upper second or equivalent) or Master’s degree in a relevant subject. The applicant must have excellent oral and written English skills and experience in conducting research, including research methods training. You will need to provide full details of your employment and education history. The successful applicant will be confident, assertive and resilient; and have relevant experience.
Deadline for applications: 6th March 2016
Interviews: Week commencing 21st March 2016
Start date: June 2016