Conference Overview

About the Theme

The conference will explore new developments in inclusion and diversity in higher education with colleagues from around the world.

Higher education institutions around the world seek to move beyond widening access agendas and towards integrating inclusion into all aspects of the educational experience. This involves creating a more inclusive teaching and learning environment that better enables all students and faculty to more fully develop cognitively, socially, emotionally, and professionally, while respecting their individual and group identities. As Patrick Blessinger notes in, Creating a culture of inclusion in higher education, “The calls for more inclusive educational environments are not only concerned about widening participation but the calls are equally concerned about reorienting the mission, vision and values of educational institutions to better align them with core democratic principles.”

The Higher Education Academy defines an inclusive teaching and learning culture as one that “enables all students to develop academically, professionally and personally to fulfil their potential.” UWS defines inclusion as “an engaging teaching and learning culture in which all students, supported by staff, can participate and achieve their full potential.”

To create a more inclusive and diverse university culture, UWS pursues three broad aims:

  1.  to embed the vision for an inclusive culture into UWS learning, teaching and assessment strategy;
  2.  to explore the distance or ‘gap’ between existing UWS policy/strategy in inclusion, and current practices; 
  3.  to identify ways to bridge this ‘gap’.

Thus, inclusion and diversity entails the transformation of institutional policies, structures, and activities in order to maximize the diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives of all students, faculty, administrators, and staff.