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The Challenges of Equity and Access: The Higher Education Curriculum Answers Back

(UCT Principal Investigators: Associate Professor Jeff Jawitz and Associate Professor Lucia Thesen)

This is a World University Network research project which examines the complex dynamics of higher education (HE) curricula in response to the global challenge of increasing access to, and equity in, HE. What is distinctive about the project is that while much of the current HE effort focuses on undergraduate curriculum renewal, this research interrogates two underexplored curriculum domains: doctoral education, and the professional learning of academics. By bringing together the distinct local histories and manifestations of the partner universities across Australia (University of Sydney), Aotearoa/New Zealand (University of Auckland), England (Bristol University) and South Africa (Cape Town), the project offers fresh insight and analysis into how access and equity are shaping the form and nature of curriculum as well as the identities and subjectivities of participants involved.  Each partner university is working on two in-depth qualitative case studies drawn from an analysis of key institutional texts and curriculum documents, as well as data from interviews and focus groups with major stakeholders. At UCT, we are focusing on two programmes – the New Academic Practitioner Programme (NAPP) and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship - both of which foreground academic identity and social justice. The case studies will form the basis of various academic engagements designed to stimulate discussion. 

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