Writing Program for Equity and Widening Participation Practitioners

(Australian Program)

Developed by The Office for Fair Access (OFFA), Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Newcastle, Australia

Project aims

This project will improve evaluation of widening participation practice in higher education by matching up practitioners with academic mentors.

It aims to:

  • enhance the relationship between widening participation practitioners and academics
  • raise the profile of robust evaluation of widening participation activity nationally and internationally
  • support widening participation practitioners to present evaluations of their practice in refereed academic journals, enabling practitioners and academics to share their work with broader audiences.

Why are we doing this?

It is increasingly important that higher education institutions demonstrate the impact of widening participation initiatives, including strategies to support access, transition and retention of students from historically under-represented backgrounds. One way to achieve this is through greater integration of practitioner led evaluations and academic evaluations of widening participation practice.

Through discussions with those involved in evaluating widening participation activity, we have identified a desire among practitioners and academics for opportunities to add value to each other’s work. In particular, greater collaboration would allow practitioners to develop their skills in writing for publication, and academics to increase their understanding of practice outside of an academic lens.

Institutions in both Australia and the UK are increasingly required to take an evidence led approach, improving evaluation and monitoring to ensure they continue to accelerate the rate of progress towards meeting various Government goals for participation and success in higher education. Disseminating effective practice is essential to allow widening participation teams to learn what works elsewhere, improving their own evaluation processes and increasing the impact of their access agreement activities.

This project will also support colleagues working across the sector to build communities of academics and practitioners, both within their own institution and across the sector by contributing to a shared understanding of effective practice.

What does the Program Involve?

One year writing program

There are 15 places available in the one year writing program in Australia, in which widening participation practitioners will be mentored by leading academics in the field.

Successful applicants will participate in a series of workshops from March to November 2018.

Workshops will be held in different locations around Australia, partially determined by the location of the participants.

A selection of the papers produced through this program will be published in special issues of national and international peer reviewed widening participation journals, and more will be presented at conferences hosted in both England and Australia.

Workshops will cover the process of producing and disseminating a research paper from start to finish, including:

  • writing and research techniques
  • producing an abstract
  • presenting a research poster
  • literature reviews
  • methodology
  • presenting findings
  • submitting papers to journals


There is no cost to participate in the program. However, costs associated with travel and accommodation for the one-year writing program will also be at the participant's expense.

Further Information

Please email ceehe@newcastle.edu.au if you would like further information on this program.