Advocating for access, equity, inclusion and diversity in higher education:
Politics, Policies, Power and Persuasion
EAN 24th Annual Conference
in collaboration with the National Union of Students in Norway
Hotel Bristol Conference Centre, Oslo, Norway
7th - 9th June 2015
All of us seeking to change the ideas, policies, practices, systems and other factors that support and perpetuate education inequalities are ‘advocates for change’ – whether we are students, academics, administrators, policy makers, teachers, support workers, or have some other role within or outside higher education.
Being an advocate for change in higher education, particularly an ‘equity champion’, is a challenging, and at times thankless role. It is also a very important role. Without equity champions – both individuals and organisations – it is doubtful that many of the reforms that have opened up higher education opportunities for a more diverse student group over recent decades would have been achieved.
Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, ‘equity champions’ are needed as much as ever in higher education. Despite considerable progress, some education inequalities persist throughout the world, while some new forms of inequality are emerging as the world changes. They contribute to social divisions and disharmony. Eliminating them is vital.
In this conference we will explore the dimensions of a legacy of knowledge, expertise and experience that we can use to make our task easier and help us to change ‘what is’ into ‘what should be’ more quickly.
In this conference we considered the following questions:
- What forms of education inequalities are the most difficult to overcome? Why are they so challenging and what strategies should we use?
- What are the factors that make change difficult to achieve? What strategies should we use to overcome them?
- What competing interests within higher education affect our chances of success? How do we counter them?
- Where and in what circumstances is success most likely? Where should we focus our efforts to achieve the greatest change?
- What balance should we give to working for short-term and long-term objectives?
- Who can help us to achieve our goals? How do we engage them and gain their support?
- Influencing politicians and public opinion – is it necessary? How do we go about it?
- What are the roles of student organisations, networks, such as the EAN, trade unions and organisations representing groups within and outside higher education?