FACE e-Bulletin - July 2017


We are pleased to feature the July 2017 issue of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) e-Bulletin:

Issue #114  |  July 2017
Xin chào* to issue 114: the 'Summer heatwave' e-bulletin!

Another FACE Conference is in the books! Thank you to all who attended and presented--you made it a fantastic learning and social experience for new and veteran FACE delegates alike! If you missed the conference, or would like to re-live it, head over to the Twitter repository for the conference hashtag, #FACE2017.

In this issue, our Chair, Prof John Storan, takes a look back at the recent FACE conference in Glasgow. Stephane Farenga, aka FACE's digital & social media guru, does the same by contemplating the keynote speakers and sharing highlights of student performances--not to be missed! Johari Barnes, Director of Academic Support at Community College of Baltimore County, shares her experience of the conference as an international delegate and first time attendee!

We have also amalgamated some of the remaining events and conferences happening this Summer, so do peruse the events section to finish off planning your conference season!

We have a number of reports for you, including the Open University's OFFA funded research on access to higher education for adult disadvantaged learners. OFFA have also released several reports as part of their ongoing research into the impact of evaluation on outreach and access agreement monitoring.

As usual, we bring you a round-up of media news and voices from the sector.

If you would like to contribute a short piece of writing (300-600 words) to a future newsletter then please contact Stephane at [email protected]. Topics can include updates on research, programmes, opinion pieces, policy analysis, conference recaps, recently published articles and much more. Our reach is currently to over 600 individuals.


*that's Vietnamese!
Stephane Farenga FACE Web & Digital Media Officer | [email protected] FACE   Forum for Access and Continuing Education  | www.face.ac.uk | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook
24th annual FACE Conference 2017: Reflections

“A memorable and exceptional conference” was how one delegate summed up this year’s annual conference hosted jointly and so brilliantly by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art.
There are lots of different ways of course to record thoughts and reflections on an annual conference but this year with the help of our conference illustrator in residence we tried something completely new. Our conference illustrator Lucy Payne to whom many thanks has managed to capture so much of the conference in her illustration below that I am sure it something we will want to repeat again for future conferences.

As FACE Chair I would like to warmly thank all the students, members of the conference team, FACE Exec members and indeed every delegate and speaker for their inputs to an excellent and highly enjoyable conference. FACE conferences are truly cooperative events and provide a unique platform and setting each year to address the particular conference title and themes which this year was “Concepts of Value and Worth: National and International Perspectives on Widening Access and Participation”. Not surprisingly this title attracted a record number of abstract submissions to the conference which in turn produced a rich variety and diversity of papers, workshops and poster sessions over the course of the three days of conferencing. If you unable to make it to the conference don’t forget that the annual publication which includes a selection of papers from this year’s conference will be published at our next conference which will be hosted by the University of Worcester between the 4th- 6th July 2018. So please put the date and venue in your diary and keep an eye on the monthly bulletin for further updates and conference news.
Our annual publication for this year which was launched at the recent conference in Glasgow is now available. The title of this year’s publication is “Widening Participation in the context of Economic and Social Change”. Copies can be ordered through the FACE website but stocks are limited.
A final thank you to everyone that contributed so much to create such a special conference.
John Storan - FACE Chair

24th annual FACE Conference 2017: Keynote Speakers
By Stéphane Farenga

If you attended the FACE conference in Glasgow then you will know just how high the calibre was of the individual paper presentations. Listing them all and their virtues would likely stretch on for a whole season's worth of e-bulletins! It's simply a case of 'you had to be there'!

Instead, I'd like to focus my reflections on the keynote speakers and student performers, all of whom took me by surprise, for different reasons. In this section, I'll focus on the keynotes and in the next section, the students.

Any regular conference goer would probably concur that keynote speaking is a bit of an art. Be engaging. Know your stuff. Let your personality shine. Be funny (but not too funny). Offer insights. Challenge.

That last one is the trickiest. Keynote speakers deliver their talks to audiences that are themselves experts in their fields, so to challenge them is no easy feat. That's where I think the keynotes at FACE 2017 really excelled!

Shirley-Anne Sommerville MSP evoked the huge task Scotland has in widening participation to higher education, both in numbers (1.1% recent increase in participation from the mose deprived areas) and in tensions between Westminster and the Scottish government when it comes to policies--the Teaching Excellence Framework being a great example as it is not required in Scotland.

Sir Peter Scott, recently appointed Commissioner for Access to Higher Education in Scotland, delivered a powerful speech, challenging a sector that has become obsessed with market forces, rankings and a desire to copycat elite institutions. He pinpointed that at the root of such deviations is the rise of the white middle-class and levels of inequality unseen since World War 1, both of which contrive to systematically lock the less advantaged out of higher education. His response? Do not be "spooked" by populism. Do not buy into the "world-class mantra" or the "performance culture". Rededicate yourself to access and share your research...engage with the world around you.

Alan Sherry, Principal at Glasgow Kelvin College, discussed important widening participation policy failures. He challenged the importance of the graduate premium (i.e. the difference university graduates make compared to non-graduates) and blanket-type participation policies that ignore subleties in access to further and higher education. Alan also spoke eloquently on the very real threats of near future labour market changes and the lack of smart widening participation policies being deleveloped in parallel.

Robin Ozz, President of the National Association for Developmental Research (FACE's sister organisation in the USA), captured delegates' attention with her deconstruction of the neoliberalist education system in America. She also showcased a powerful analogy of access to education: using members in the first few rows she demonstrated how our education system is rigged for those closest to and with the easiest path to higher education. A great example of how to be funny, yet sobering!

Finally, Vonnie Sandlan, outgoing President of NUS Scotland, honoured us by using her final day as President to provoke us into looking closely at the perceived success of widening participation policy in Scotland. With the most deprived areas of Scotland still lagging far behind in participation, Vonnie did not mince her words: "at our current pace we're set to miss our target by decades". With Scotland having the worst retention rate across Europe, she left us with a real policy dilemma: "is widening access enough?". Vonnie is now a Senior Policy Officer at Colleges Scotland--best of luck in your new role!

I hope this has given those who could not attend the conference a glimpse into how engaging and thought-provoking our keynote speakers were, while reminding those who did attend to keep asking  tough questions!
24th annual FACE Conference 2017: Students
By Stéphane Farenga

Robin Ozz
, President of the National Association for Developmental Research, said it best during her keynote speech: "No matter the country students are the best part of the conference."

Once again, this assessment was spot on for FACE 2017. Not only was the physical venue at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland a stimulating environment, thanks to the students present--think walking down hallways and hearing drama students rehearsing or musicians practicing--but the student amnassadors were professional and extremely helpful in helping run the conference.

The real treat though was a series of performances delivered by students on or having just completed the Conservatoire's access pathway. The delegates were treated to three performances in the main auditorium by:
Follow the links above to watch a short video of each student's work!

Delegates were stunned by the quality of each performance--not because it was unexpected from these students--but because of the power and raw emotion injected into piece. These three students truly embodied the spirit of the Conservatoire, of the performing arts and of a love of learning.

An American Perspective of FACE 2017
By Johari Brown, Director of Academic Support at Community College of Baltimore County (USA)

At the end of the last NADE (National Association for Developmental Education) Annual Conference, I was announced as the winner of a trip to Scotland to attend the FACE Conference. As I never win anything, I was surprised and elated! Wanting to know more about the FACE Conference, I spent the next few months learning as much as I could about widening participation and the policies and practices associated with this field.

For three days, educators from all over the world gathered to discuss concerns and challenges experienced by students. The intimate size of the conference allowed for more networking, thoughtful conversations on research and discussions on individual institutional experiences. The camaraderie was infectious. From the plenaries to the workshops and paper sessions, all were collaborative, thought provoking, informative, motivating and encouraging.

Something that stood out to me was how closely the attainment gap experienced in some of the UK, closely mirrors the attainment gap seen in many areas of the US. The FACE conference  discusses these challenges and invoked thoughtful ways to help students overcome these challenges, attend colleges and universities and successfully complete their degrees. These conversations are necessary and welcomed. This is important to me as my own institution continues to create and pilot initiatives to help lessen the attainment gap.

I appreciated how the students were not just discussed during the conference but were also included. Students from the host institutions served as friendly conference guides. The conference bags showcased artwork from students at Islay High School (located on a small island off the west coast of Scotland). Students also helped many of the delegates learn traditional dance moves at the Ceilidh at the Gala Dinner!

The Civic Reception at the Glasgow City Chambers, the Gala Dinner at Òran Mór and the Glasgow School of Art Walking Tour helped delegates experience the city.

This was my first time at FACE and my first time in Scotland and I enjoyed every minute. This is my new favorite conference and I hope to see everyone at the FACE Conference in Worcester in 2018!
See you in Worcester in 2018!
It's never too early to start planning the next FACE conference!

We were very pleased to announce during FACE 2017 the host institution for FACE 2018! The University of Worcester and FACE reached an agreement to host the conference next year, 4-6 July 2018.

Both Ross Renton, Pro-Vice Chancellor, and Val Yates, Director of Access and Inclusion, shared their vision for FACE 2018, which will be based around the transformative capacity of higher education. It is set to be a fantastic conference set within a very progressed univesity, one that is modern and uniquely integrated within its local environment.

To find out more, contact Val: [email protected]
Launch of FACE Publication 2017
Latest FACE publication now available
FACE’s latest publication: Widening Participation in the Context of Economic and Social Change, draws on a selection of papers presented at the 23rd FACE annual conference hosted at Queen’s University Belfast. Whilst the contributions reflect the themes of the conference they also highlight something  of the diversity of FACE’s membership which brings together practitioners, policy makers, researchers and academics working in a variety of contexts and settings not just throughout  the UK but also from other educational systems around the world.
The common theme, which links the chapters in this publication, is that the research and projects reported on seek to make change happen, whether at programme, institutional or system level. The publication provides an opportunity to disseminate this work to a wider audience beyond the conference.

FACE is a vibrant community of practice which encourages practitioners and early-career researchers to publish their work. Recognising the challenges of academic writing and publishing, authors are supported through the process by a team of experienced editors and referees who provide detailed and constructive feedback on draft submissions. Peer to peer scholarship is therefore very much at the heart of the FACE publication experience.


Launching our new publication was Glasgow School of Art (GSA) student Caitlin Callaghan. Caitline is a fantastic young artist who designed the cover. She benefitted from GSA's access programme and will be studying Sculpture in the upcoming academic year.

To learn from the challenges and successes of others order your copy of the FACE publication by clicking here to download an order form or head to our website and
fill out the online form.

2017 Chair's Report

2017 Chair's Report now available

FACE's Chair, Prof John Storan, has just released his 2017 Chair's Report, which details our organisation's work over the last 12 months. The highlights of this past year have been our conitnued committment to our membership and growing our national and international partnerships. The recent FACE members' survey will provide us with an opportunity to better capture the membeship's needs and what support we can offer.

FACE's four year strategic plan (2016-2020) was also developed and signed off by the Executive, which will allow us to meet upcoming challenges in the education sector and beyond.

Of course, the crown jewel in our calendar remains our annual conference, and the 2016 iteration in Belfast was no exception!

To find out more about these topics and the rest of our yearly summary, download the 2017 Chair's Report.

Call for Papers and Call to Actions
Know of any call for papers for conferences/journals or call to actions for consultations/research bids in the fields of widening participation, access, lifelong learning or related fields?

Let us know!
[email protected]


Experiencing Higher Education, Transitions and the Graduate Labour Market: the Non-traditional Student Perspective | Deadline: 30 August 2017

Learning, retention and employability in higher education are key issues for policy- makers at institutional, national and European levels. They are also areas of interest for researchers.

This European conference provides an opportunity to hear about a new, trans European, interdisciplinary, in-depth study of non-traditional students in six countries; and to present papers, round tables, and symposia on related topics to an international audience of academics, practitioners and policy-makers.

Further details click here

Notice of events
Below is a list of events around the UK within the access, lifelong learning and widening participation fields.

If you'd like your event to be listed,
get in touch :)
NEON and OFFA: Addressing Differential Outcomes for BME Learners | July 18 2017, Central London

This one day event will look at case studies, research and best practice that are improving outcomes for BME learners.This is a key event for anybody with a remit around access, retention and student success for BME students.

Further details click here

UKAT Webinar: Transition, Tutoring and Technology | July 18 2017, online

It is widely recognised that the transition to university study is difficult for many students. Personal tutors have a crucial role to play in supporting students through this transition and helping them to succeed in the higher education environment. This webinar explores fundamental issues around transition, tutoring practices for supportive interventions, and the role that technology can play in both supporting students and identifying those students in need of support.

This webinar is presented by David Grey (UKAT/York St John University), Emily McIntosh (UKAT/University of Bolton) and Jamie Rawsthorne (Unique Insights).

Further details click here

Article 26 Conference 2017 | 4-6 Sept 2017, Warwick University

The Article 26 project aims to support forced migrants (refugees & asylum seekers) to access, participate and succeed in higher education. We would like to invite you to our 7th annual conference, which is hosted this year by the University of Warwick. The conference takes place over three days and participants can attend the day/s most relevant to them; the first day focuses on forced migrant students studying in higher education, the second on university practitioners and the third and final is a research symposium. No prior knowledge or experience in the field of forced migration and access to higher education is required - we welcome everyone.

Further details click here
Reports, news and voices from the sector
Recent Reports

Open University - OFFA | Understanding the impact of outreach on access to higher education for adult learners from disadvantaged backgrounds: an institutional response

This research project from the Open University and funded by OFFA is intended to stimulate an increase in sector outreach targeted at adults. It seeks to offer evidence of interventions which do attract adult learners into HE, and aims to provide universities with ideas with which to rebalance their current substantive efforts to widen participation solely through outreach with pupils in schools. In addition, the project has developed a three-step evaluation tool to support HEIs which is reported below

Read the report here

Open University - OFFA | Three-step evaluation tool for outreach to adults from disadvantaged backgrounds

This newly published, case-studies informed report from the Open University and funded by OFFA identifies three underlying principles: institutional culture, institutional understanding of the diverse needs of (usually) local adult learners and the practical commitment to analysing the impact of any interventions aimed at adult learners through the perceptions of the learners.

Read the full report here


OFFA | The Evaluation of the Impact of Outreach

This report is part of OFFA's wider ongoing research into the impact of outreach, which has led toa better understanding of current evaluation practice, leading to the development of this report on the proposed standards of evaluation.

Read the full report here

OFFA | Monitoring outcomes of 2015/16 access agreements

This report includes the progress made by universities and colleges against the targets they set for themselves and their levels of investment, plus our commentary on those outcomes. OFFA have also published each institution’s own assessment of its progress against the individual 2015-16 milestones and targets it set itself in its 2016-17 access agreement, together with its explanatory commentary and its performance against HESA performance indicators, where applicable.

Read the full report here

News digest & voices from the sector

Some wider HE sector insights:

Women are less likely to study STEM subjects – but disadvantaged women are even less so (LSE blog)

Market competition and mass participation ‘reduces diversity’ (Times Higher Ed)

Let's use the TEF to bring lofty universities back down to earth (Guardian)

2VCs: Should universities be forced to sponsor schools? (Guardian)

It's time to radically re-think university tuition fees (Guardian)

And finally...have you studied as a mature learner? Or maybe just interested in the journeys mature learners make into higher education? Head over to the Open University's #Iwas campaign and be inspired!
This is the monthly e-Bulletin from FACE (the Forum for Access and Continuing Education), offered to practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and others with an interest in access, widening participation and lifelong learning. The e-Bulletin is sent to colleagues in the sector; members and non-members alike. If you would prefer not to receive it, please contact Stephane Farenga and your details will be removed from the circulation list.

If you wish to respond to anything in this e-Bulletin or make a contribution to future issues – particularly news and events - please also contact Stephane Farenga.
Copyright © 2017 Forum for Access and Continuing Education, All rights reserved.


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