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Institutional responses to social inclusion in Australian higher education: responsible citizenship or political pragmatism?


Kilpatrick, S and Johns, S, Institutional responses to social inclusion in Australian higher education: responsible citizenship or political pragmatism?, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 16, (2) pp. 27-45. ISSN 1466-6529 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Participation in higher education has widened in recent years, to include groups who are at risk of social exclusion. Public policy in many countries has promoted increased enrolments for non-traditional student groups. Social inclusion policy and practice is underpinned by differing ideological frameworks relating to the degree of social inclusion. This paper analyses Australian universitiesí high level, publicly available strategic planning documents for evidence of their strategies to implement the Australian Governmentís social inclusion agenda, and their position on a social inclusion continuum extending from neoliberal access to social justice participation to human potential empowerment. Longer-established, research-intensive universitiesí strategies are clustered at the neoliberal access end of the continuum, while universities articulating strategies at the human potential empowerment end of the continuum tended to be more recently established institutions, often located in rural regions. The findings suggest strongly that socially inclusive universities articulate a comprehensive and integrated suite of strategies spanning the access, participation and empowerment domains. Universities aspiring to be socially inclusive beyond any short-term government policy imperative require a high level plan or framework that articulates goals, agreed strategies for building and sustaining a socially inclusive organisation, and indicators of success.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:equity, higher education, social inclusion, strategic planning
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Higher education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Equity and access to education
UTAS Author:Kilpatrick, S (Professor Sue Kilpatrick)
UTAS Author:Johns, S (Dr Susan Johns)
ID Code:94521
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Centre for University Pathways and Partnerships
Deposited On:2014-09-11
Last Modified:2015-05-12

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