Enabling new students to feel that they matter: promoting social inclusion within the university community
Widening participation in higher education has long been proposed as a key strategy for promoting social inclusion in countries including Australia (Gale and Tranter 2011) and the UK (Tett 2004). Consequently, as higher education has been transformed from an elite to a mass education model, universities now attract a much more diverse cohort of students than ever before. However, simply offering places in higher education does not in itself necessarily promote social inclusion unless the institution is prepared to adapt its ways of working to ensure that all students are provided with the means to demonstrate their capacity for learning (Gale and Tranter 2011) and are regarded as full citizens within the university community (Tett 2004). Hence this chapter describes the rationale for, and introduces, an initiative which aimed to enhance the participation of first-year students in the university community.