15 November 2023

Abertay University to lead international summit on advancing higher education inclusivity

The European Access Network (EAN) annual conference comes to Dundee next June

Abertay University has been confirmed as the host institution of an international conference that brings together policymakers, practitioners, and academics to share best practice on initiatives to widen access to higher education.

The European Access Network (EAN) annual conference, scheduled for 11-12 June 2024, will draw hundreds of delegates from across the world to engage in discussions on key issues related to widening access, with a focus on developing new policies that promote inclusivity in higher education for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

The EAN is the only European-wide, non-governmental organisation for widening participation in higher education, and this marks the first conference since before the pandemic.

The theme of the 2024 conference is ‘New Beginnings for European Access - Designing Equity, Transitions and Student Success' and delegates are invited to contribute by submitting proposals for various session formats, including 60-minute workshops, 20-minute presentations, show-and-tells, and poster presentations. The call for proposals opened last month and closes on Wednesday 24 January 2024.

Professor Luke Millard, Dean of Teaching & Learning and Professor of Student Development, said:

It’s very fitting that Abertay has been selected to host the EAN conference given our reputation as a sector leader in widening access. We take great pride in not only welcoming students from non-traditional backgrounds but also empowering them to flourish during their time with us. The conference provides a unique opportunity for educators, professionals, and students to come together in a spirit of collaboration, exploring innovative ways to improve access to university. I'm confident that the conference will not only foster insightful discussions but also significantly contribute to the ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive educational landscape, both within Scotland and on a global scale.

Abertay secured a spot among the top 5 universities in the UK for social inclusion in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024, having previously held the leading position in Scotland for the same criterion in the previous year's rankings.

The University is collaborating with SCAPP (Scotland’s Community for Access and Participation Practitioners) to organise and deliver the 2024 EAN conference.

SCAPP, a network of practitioners dedicated to supporting the development and professionalisation of the widening access and participation community in Scotland, actively promotes the exchange of best practice and engages in activities which support underrepresented learners from the most disadvantaged backgrounds by promoting, encouraging, inspiring and delivering programmes and projects which enhance a quality study experience.

Muriel Alexander, SCAAP Development Manager said:

SCAPP is delighted to be working in partnership with Abertay to deliver the 2024 EAN Conference. We welcome the opportunity to raise awareness of, and share, some of the leading cross-sector widening access work which is taking place across Scotland, and to enable collaborative, purposeful and collegiate discussion and networking. We are excited to be part of the organisation of this event and we encourage a strong Scottish representation at this international conference.

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