The new higher education reality: what is an appropriate model to address the widening participation agenda?

Phillip Dawson, Karen Charman, Sue Kilpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Along with the massification of higher education comes a need for new models to support the success of greater numbers of diverse students. A greater proportion of these students are non-traditional in terms of preparedness, socioeconomic status and geography. This paper introduces an Associate Degree model designed to support this new higher education reality of broader student cohorts, thin regional markets and cross-sectoral collaboration. Background literature on challenges facing the higher education sector and its prospective students is presented, with a particular focus on regionality. An argument is made for the role of curriculum and pedagogy as enablers of non-traditional student success. This is supported by the results of a mixed-methods exploratory study. This Associate Degree model was attractive to students and institutes. Students experienced similar levels of challenge, workload and progress to their traditional peers. While technology was essential for the success of the model, it played a supporting role to the relationships and multiple modes of learning it facilitated. This article provides insights for institutions seeking to address the broadening participation agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706 - 721
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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