Widening participation to disadvantaged groups: one university’s approach towards targeting and evaluation

Alan Beckley


Widening participation (WP) in higher education to disadvantaged young people is essential for the future economic and social well-being of Australia to ensure sustainability of its national and commercial standing in the world, economic progress and social justice. This article will examine how, in a university, evaluation can be used to ensure optimum learning from WP projects for continuous improvement while complying with government funding and reporting requirements that ensure public money is spent wisely and to optimum effect. The approach of the University of Western Sydney is to utilise a three tier process of (i) appropriate project management tools and techniques; (ii) careful and sensitive targeting of equity group participants, and; (iii) non-intrusive and confidential evaluation processes. With this combination of procedures, programs and projects can be effectively evaluated to ensure pre-determined objectives will be achieved and the all-important socio-economic outcomes can be realised.


widening participation; evaluation; tertiary education; Australia; equity groups

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Banner image: Kira Jovanovski (2020), movement score 01 (detail): oil stick and acrylic on paper. Photograph by Kira Jovanovski. Cover image: Kira Jovanovski (2020), grunt_iteration 02 in the boughs and stamped: installation in University Gallery. Photograph by Jedidiah Cranfield. (c) the artist.





This journal is published on the lands of the Pambalong Clan of the Awabakal People.

ISSN 2653-245X