Widening Participation Unit
Towards an inclusive university
Widening Participation is the term used around the world to describe initiatives aiming to attract more students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in higher education into university.
In 2008, the Review of Australian Higher Education (the Bradley Review, 2.5MB PDF) concluded that Australia was "falling behind other countries in performance and investment in higher education", and that "the nation will need more well-qualified people if it is to anticipate and meet the demands of a rapidly moving global economy".
In Australia, groups traditionally disadvantaged in terms of access to higher education include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, people with disabilities, people living in rural and remote areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including refugees, people from low socio-economic status backgrounds, women in non-traditional areas of study, and people who do not enter university directly after completing school (mature-age students).
Widening Participation is inherent in Macquarie University's core value of inclusiveness, defined as being "about making the system fairer and providing access to everyone, no matter what their background, who has potential to benefit from higher education". Social Inclusion is also one of our key strategic directions, as "we at Macquarie are enhancing our commitment to local students whose circumstances limit their access to tertiary study through a range of equity based scholarships and university access pathways".
Widening Participation has been embraced through the new LEAP (Learning, Education Aspiration, Participation) program, through expansion of existing initiatives such as the Indigenous Science Education Program run successfully out of the Faculty of Science for several years, and through active collaboration with other Sydney universities and a range of other partners through the Bridges to Higher Education (Bridges) consortium.
Macquarie University prides itself on being a vibrant, diverse and innovative university, committed to social inclusion and equity to employment and education.
The LEAP Program
Macquarie University's LEAP (Learning, Education Aspiration, Participation) Program comprises a variety of school and community engagement initiatives that raise aspirations, create possibilities and actively support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to successfully participate in higher education.
LEAP is funded by the Commonwealth Government's Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).
LEAP is currently running the following projects:
- LEAP - Macquarie Mentoring
- LEAP - Links Virtual Classrooms
- LEAP - Rural Students University Experience
- LEAP - National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP)
Projects previously run by LEAP:
Widening Participation Unit
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Building Y2A Level 2, 11 Hadenfeld Avenue
Macquarie University NSW 2109 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9850 1933
Fax: +61 2 9850 4694