SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES FROM PRE-ENTRY TO GRADUATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION. A SCOTTISH PERSPECTIVE
The presentation seeks to share good practice and exchange ideas with other institutions who are interested in supporting students with disabilities as a continual process of support from pre -entry to graduate status. This is the fifth year that Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Scotland has run study skills workshops, specifically tailored to meet the needs of students with disabilities prior to commencing their studies at university. The initial concept of the programme originated from a member of GCU’s Disability Team and an academic member of staff. Both staff members found from previous experience of working directly with this group, that there was a need for this type of provision.
The programme provides students with the opportunity to: increase confidence; engage with support services before the start of their programme of study; encourage students to access support as early as possible and provides useful advice on a range of topics specifically designed to meet their needs. Since its inception, the provision has been extended across the university with participation from GCU’s three Academic Schools: School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow School for Business and Society and the School of Health and Life Sciences.
Following on from the success of the previous study skill workshops, the university together with colleagues from the College sector expanded the programme by running a one day course in September 2015. As a pilot scheme, the programme focused on pre entry students within the Engineering and Built Environment School and was delivered during the third semester for students joining the institution in September 2015. This programme was specifically aimed at articulating students (students gaining advanced entry into years two or three at our institution). These students have studied at colleges where courses are designed to facilitate advanced entry into our institution.
Support for students at GCU is seen as a continuous process where students are offered regular review meetings with a designated Disability Adviser and access to study skill and academic writing support by Academic Development Tutors within Learning Development Centres. This enables students the opportunity for individualised and flexible support as and when required.
Qualitative research is currently being carried out to consider whether there is a correlation between pre-entry support, increased confidence and academic performance. In addition, feedback from attendees has been very positive and some of their comments will be disseminated at the workshop. Although the impact of this type of support is difficult to quantify, the qualitative outcomes to date would indicate that students have integrated well into their programmes.