Developing academic literacy at the University Of Cumbria

Stuart, Kaz ORCID logo ORCID: (2019) Developing academic literacy at the University Of Cumbria. Social Publishers Foundation Practitioner Research .

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Project summary: This paper explores academic literacy development from the perspective of social capital, identity and communities of practice. Many universities are widening participation for social justice and financial imperatives. The arrival of increasingly diverse students is not, however, always matched with flexible approaches to developing academic literacy. 65% of our students are ‘non-traditional’ and we are challenged with supporting their academic literacy. We explored this practice through three conceptual lenses and with case study data from six staff and three students. As a result of the case study we are re-developing our child and family studies programme academic literacy support to a more socio-cultural model for the next academic year.

Project context: This paper presents a case study of the development of academic literacy at the University of Cumbria. Academic literacy is a key issue for many students and particularly those entering under a ‘widening participation’ (WP) agenda from non-traditional backgrounds or with low University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) points. A genuinely equitable ethos coupled with a competitive need for student numbers increases WP in higher education. Unfortunately, it may come at a cost as, “universities with the most success at widening participation to working-class students are predominantly those that are perceived to be low status” (Reay, 2017:118). The University of Cumbria is proud of its Widening Participation role and recruits learners from WP backgrounds at a local and national level. Defining and identifying WP is complex, but University of Cumbria statistics show around 65% of our students are traditionally under-represented in HE. They are particularly likely to choose programmes with lower entry points such as Youth Work and Working with Children and Families Degrees. These fall within the Child and Family Studies group and are the focus of this research.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Social Publishers Foundation Practitioner Research
Publisher: Social Publishers Foundation
Departments: Institute of Health > Social Work, Children and Families
Centre for Research in Health and Society (CRIHS)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2023 10:47
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 09:31


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