What does “inclusivity” mean within foundation year practice?


Foundation Year Network Annual Conference, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, 16th and 17th July 2020

Inclusivity is a common term within further and higher education, but one that often defies precise definition within institutions, never mind across a sector as broad and varied as foundation year study in the UK. For the Foundation Year Network, an organisation dedicated to celebrating and supporting the diversity within our sector, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity. How do we celebrate inclusivity and inclusive practice without inadvertently excluding members and institutions for whom foundation year study looks quite different? Similarly, how do we ensure that our response to the critiques contained within the Augar Review does not undermine or diminish the great work conducted by colleagues across the network? Conversely, as a members’ network established to promote good practice, how do we balance this need to recognise and celebrate difference whilst also empowering colleagues to overcome the bureaucratic, philosophical, and financial barriers that prevent more inclusive foundation year provision?

The aim of this year’s conference, then, is to explore the idea of inclusivity – to question what we mean by “inclusive practice” and discuss how we can effectively translate positive ideas into practical and effective actions. To do this, we want to engage as many members of the network as possible, so we actively encourage submissions in the following formats:

Poster Presentations: This is a creative and informative way for colleagues to share case studies and provide examples of inclusive practice in a more accessible and less time-sensitive environment. Posters will be exhibited within the main conference venue and colleagues will be invited to discuss their findings with other participants. We particularly welcome poster presentations from first-time FYNAC attendees and early career colleagues who may not feel comfortable or have the time to produce and deliver oral presentations.

Pecha Kucha Presentations: Following on from the success of the Pecha Kucha presentations delivered at Sussex, we invite colleagues to consider whether the topic and/or case study that they wish to discuss could be deliverable within the 20 slide, 20 second format of a Pecha Kucha. You can find more information about Pecha Kucha presentations here (https://www.pechakucha.com/) and find examples from last year on the FYN website.

Panel Papers: These 15-20 minute oral presentations are grouped according to a common theme or topic and are followed by questions from the audience. Members are welcome to suggest full panels if they are in communication with colleagues working on similar topics. We encourage all potential panel presenters to consider ways of engaging and interacting with the audience and particularly welcome papers that are informed by student experience and/or testimony.
Themed Workshops: Delivered by an individual or team, these interactive, one-hour sessions focus on a single topic and actively encourage audience participation, collaborative working, and peer-to-peer instruction. Workshop leaders may wish to address themselves to areas of general interest to foundation year practitioners, or consider if there are topics that might be of interest to colleagues within particular fields or institutions.

Themed Workshops: Delivered by an individual or team, these interactive, one-hour sessions focus on a single topic and actively encourage audience participation, collaborative working, and peer-to-peer instruction. Workshop leaders may wish to address themselves to areas of general interest to foundation year practitioners, or consider if there are topics that might be of interest to colleagues within particular fields or institutions.

All submissions should address themselves to the theme of inclusivity and we have provided some ideas below (for illustrative purposes only):

Inclusive Admissions

  • What role can (and should) outreach initiatives play in recruiting students on to Foundation Year Programmes?
  • Who are we including in “inclusive” approaches to admissions and why?
  • How is inclusivity framed within the context of international admissions to FY study?
  • Does FY study complement or compete with contextualised admission processes for Year 1 programmes?
  • What does an inclusive admission practice look like in an increasingly marketised environment?
  • What do students want and/or expect when they apply for a Foundation Year and does this differ by cohort?
  • Are FY programmes purposefully widening access to your institution, or is greater diversity simply the result of lower tariffs and applicant behaviour?

Inclusive Teaching

  • What kind of knowledge is preferred within the academy and what consequence does this have for inclusive practice?
  • What does an inclusive curriculum look like in your subject?
  • Do universal inclusivity policies help or hinder students with specific learning differences?
  • Can digital technologies provide the answers to inclusive teaching initiatives?
  • How does inclusive teaching practice differ at year 0 from years 1-3?
  • Should inclusive teaching practices at year 0 avoid adopting a deficit-model approach to student capabilities? If so, how?
  • How well does your faculty reflect the diversity of your student cohort?
  • Does/could this present challenges to achieving greater inclusivity?
  • Do you face challenges when preparing students for teaching at year 1 and above that you know will be less inclusive than your own practice?
  • How well are FY students integrated into the wider research and teaching culture of their destination departments?
  • How do students find the move in to year 1 and how does your institution manage this transition?

Inclusive Strategy

  • To what extent are inclusive practice policies part of the strategic oversight of FY programmes?
  • How can inclusivity be prioritised in strategic conversations at senior levels of University administration?
  • How well is FY provision itself included within relevant departments/faculties/institutions?
  • How can we promote wider adoption of inclusive practice within our own institutions?
  • What are the differences between diversity and inclusivity and are these differences acknowledged within your institution or department?

 

Abstracts should be no longer than 400 words and should be sent to conference@foundationyear.ac.uk by the 24th February 2020. Informal enquiries should be addressed to the conference organiser, Dr Mark Joseph Walmsley, and sent to conference@foundationyear.ac.uk.


If you are concerned that financial barriers may prevent your attendance at the conference, please contact Steve Faulkner (treasurer@foundationyear.ac.uk) who can advise potential presenters on the financial aid available from the Foundation Year Network.