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]
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.
equity, higher education, social inclusion, strategic planning