04 SES 04 B, Fostering Inclusion In Higher Education: What Are Supportive Practices?
The University of Pecs (UP) in Hungary has been acting for inclusion for more decades, since around Pecs there is a high number of disadvantaged and Roma communities, who mostly have low social status and lag behind the majority society in their schooling and educational level. When we talk about disadvantaged and Roma students, intersectionality is an important notion, because it means that “various social inequalities (ethnic, gender or class status) and the related forms of oppression (discrimination) can be examined” (Asumah-Nagel, 2014, p.11). Over the years, a group of researchers and teachers started not only focus on these student groups but other groups who are at risk in Pecs as well. Inclusive University has a mutual aim, namely that we would like to extend the scope of enrollment for certain groups and at the same time provide services and support, which strengthen the conditions of these groups in higher education. In the long term, we wish to (1) establish equal access and participation for students; (2) increase the number of students, (3) hinder the number of dropouts and (4) ensure the successful labour market entry, by concentrate on, evaluate and create visibility for the existing good practices (Deli, 2019). The chosen student groups and the reason of our focus are the followings:
(1) socially disadvantaged students (lack of chance)
(2) Roma students (social exclusion)
(3) disabled students (personal conditions) and
(4) foreign students (lack of information).
A research and development team in 2015 wrote a book about the theoretical and practical steps towards inclusion in Pecs. They did this based on their long-term scientific work in this field, their profound study in the international and domestic models, and their strategic ideas. In 2018 Inclusive University programme started to operate at the UP as an institutional development strategy. The purpose of this study is to present the results of an initial research of Inclusive University programme on the diversity of supporting good practices at the UP in 2018/2019 academic year. It also details the types and amount of support for the focus groups according to the deans, which represents how much these groups are in the focus of the leaders, and how much the top leadership members are committed.
Inclusion has a big role in education according to Arató and Varga (2015) on one hand in the starting point (input) to provide equal participation (equality) and equal access for students to the sources (equity), and on the other hand in the process phase to create those conditions which ensure inclusion day by day (process). We have to consider a third phase of the system; the output, which can reflect on how much inclusiveness was fulfilled. When we talk about inclusive excellence that is “quality environmental conditions which successfully meet the challenges of the 21st century” (Arató & Varga, 2015, p. 9) we always take account the community or institutional level. However, we have to consider the individual level also when inclusiveness brings some groups into focus with regard to equity and tries to provide them a high number of supportive services. Our aim is to highlight those services and good practices, which enhance both the individual and the institutional level of inclusion. Williams et al. emphasize that inclusion has to be extended to all individuals and organizational levels, because it will generate real success in the long run (2005).
In the autumn of 2018 we designed a survey which reveal the successful institutional examples for “good practices”, student colleges, scholarships, programs, partnerships etc. These programmes try to ensure inclusiveness at different faculties of the UP. The survey was carried out by the Inclusive University Coordination Office, and was sent by the Vice Rector to the Deans of each faculty. Because the questionnaire consisted of mostly open-ended questions, the amount of the answers was very diverse, but informative in each case. The answering phase by the deans lasted for about a month. We asked the participants about how and to what extent their faculty support some of the above-mentioned focus groups. The research questions were the followings: • Which groups are mostly promoted at the UP? • What kind of supporting programmes and good practices exist in the faculties? • How do these programmes and good practices function? The objectives of the study: • In the spring of 2019 we would like to organize two roundtable discussions for the leaders of these programmes and for some members of the mentioned student groups. • Our intention by these events is to provide a platform for those co-workers, teachers, researchers, who work with these target groups and for inclusion for many years, but separately, in one of the faculties of the UP. • We also believe that a scientific discourse is essential to match and harmonize the existing good practices, which will hopefully enhance the results of these programmes in the future, and will lead to the dissemination of these practices.
The research highlighted that in the 2018/2019 academic year, the most supported group was the group of foreign students based on the responses of the leaders of the faculties. Besides, the supporting programmes for socially disadvantaged student groups were also emphasized, but Roma students or disabled students were less supported according to the deans’ responses. The types of supports were diverse in the different faculties of UP, but the cooperation between the faculties was also emphasized, which is an important element of the inclusive environment according to Varga (2015). It was visible that most of the programmes were focusing on students and the support of their successful progress, and only two types of services meant to enhance teachers’ or administrative workers’ preparedness for the diversity of students. From the answers it became clear that the faculties mostly sought to support the target groups through independent courses and trainings, as well as mentoring programs and student colleges. The deans also mentioned many types of scholarships as financial support, which is used to support talented students or sometimes women. These two groups were mentioned by more faculties as additional focus groups. We would like to strengthen the cooperation among the mentioned good practices and programmes, and hopefully the roundtable discussions could serve as good platforms for our intention in the future.
Arató, F. – Varga, A.(2015). Inclusive university: How to increase academic excellence focusing on the aspects of inclusion. University of Pecs, Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Education, Autonomy and Responsibility Study Volumes IV. Pecs Arató, F. – Varga, A.(2018). Befogadó Egyetem. In: Pusztai, Gabriella; Szigeti, Fruzsina (szerk.) Lemorzsolódás és perzisztencia a felsőoktatásban. Debrecen, Magyarország: Debreceni Egyetemi Kiadó, pp.189-206. Asumah, S. N. – Nagel, M. (2014). Preface. In: Asumah, S. N. – Nagel, M. (Ed.): Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusive Excellence - Transdisciplinary and Global Perspectives. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, USA. p.9-13. Deli, K. (2019). Steps towards Inclusive University at the University of Pecs. In: VIII. Trefort Ágoston Tanárképzési Konferencia Tanulmánykötet.Óbudai Egyetem. Budapest Milem, J. – Chang, M.– Antonio, A. (2005). Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Research-Based Perspective. Association of American Colleges and Universities, Washington D.C., USA Varga, A.(2015). Az inklúzió szemlélete és gyakorlata. Pécsi Tudományegyetem. Wlislocki Henrik Szakkollégium. Pécs Williams, D. - Berger, J. – McClendon, S. (2005). Toward a model of inclusive excellence and change in postsecondary institutions. Association of American Colleges and Universities. Washington D.C., USA 49.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.