Chemistry – South West: Sharing Best Practice in Widening Participation
The aim of the proposal is to transfer between the HE Institutions of the South West examples of known best practice and apply this to on-going widening participation activities in the chemical sciences. In order to achieve this aim a regional one day meeting will be held for interested parties. This meeting will act as a “one-stop shop” where delegates attending will offer up examples of best practice from their Institution as well as hearing about activities in partner South West institutions. We will also invite representatives from the Royal Society of Chemistry; this is particularly relevant since several aspects of their pilot CFOF activities were not rolled-out to the South West. Time will be available for delegates to investigate further these practices using breakout sessions. The output from this meeting will be five proposals between institutions to transfer one piece of their best practice within a timescale of up to six months. Funding will be used to support the transfer and implementation through the development of a repository of resources, as well as institutional visits in order to embed best practice quickly and effectively.
A further benefit from this work will be the creation of a sustainable network of chemical science practitioners interested in transferring best practice. This started during the South West scoping meetings for HE STEM among colleagues who had not previously met and, in the long-term, it is envisaged that the network will support not only the transfer of current best practice but also the development of innovative educational tools.
One outcome will be the development of a regional network of voluntary peer science communicators supporting widening participation activities across the South West. By recruiting, training and mentoring student communicators from within the departments this will support the sustainability of the project. Furthermore, a key component of the strategy is to support the strengthening of ties not only between HEIs but also between HEIs and widening participation schools. In order to align the outputs from this network to the requirements of users, a panel of teachers from across the region will be set-up to advise and guide resource development and activity.