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Widening participation

Widening participation is an important part of Lund University’s efforts to be an inclusive higher education institution that welcomes everyone to higher education. The University is to work for diversity in education, stimulate underrepresented groups to apply to higher education and work to counteract socially uneven recruitment.

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Widening participation – for an inclusive University

Since 2002, the Higher Education Act has stipulated that Swedish higher education institutions are to actively promote and widen participation in higher education. There are currently no set national goals for work on widening participation, and no established national definition of the concept. It is therefore up to each individual higher education institution to interpret and describe what widening participation is and when goals have been achieved.

Lund University’s definition of widening participation

An investigation was commissioned in the mid-2010s by the university-wide Education Board to formulate a proposal for work on widening participation. The investigation’s remit included a clarification of how Lund University defines the concept of widening participation. Through a large number of interviews with staff and students the following description was developed to achieve widened participation:

  • Lund University shall work for diversity in education: diversity shall characterise the student population, and everyone’s rights and opportunities shall be promoted regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • Lund University shall work to counteract socially uneven recruitment to the University: socially uneven recruitment to the University refers to when individuals from different social backgrounds start at the University to varying extents. When socially uneven recruitment is present in higher education institutions it does not reflect the social composition of the population. To counteract socially uneven recruitment, the University shall therefore identify underrepresented groups. 
  • Lund University shall stimulate underrepresented groups to apply to higher education: underrepresented groups refers here to students who contribute to increasing diversity in the student population, students from different social backgrounds as well as from a non-academic background, or from a geographical area that has a lower transition rate to higher education in percentage terms, as well as students from a wider geographical catchment area, nationally and internationally. 

The investigation also established that all activities carried out in the area are to contain the message that Lund University is an inclusive University that inspires and welcomes everyone to higher education – a University that engages and supports the students during and after their studies and provides knowledge that contributes to a better world. 

The University’s work on widening participation

Work on widening participation concerns the entire University and is conducted today at university-wide level and at faculty and department levels. The work covers all first, second and third cycle activities and the whole student population – i.e. national and international students.

Division of responsibilities within the University

The university-wide Education Board is responsible for overall strategic education matters for the faculties regarding first and second cycle studies. The university-wide Research Programmes Board is responsible for overall strategic education matters for faculties regarding third cycle studies. 

The task also includes quality assurance and quality enhancement. The boards which, among others, include representatives of all the faculties as well as the students’ unions, make decisions on programme-related and research programme-related matters respectively as delegated by the vice-chancellor. 

Work on recruitment (which includes widening participation) is mostly handled like other education-related issues at the University, i.e. though the faculties having been delegated the responsibility. 

The aim of the work on widening participation varies between the different academic disciplines. What constitutes underrepresented groups in one subject is not the same in others. Different background factors therefore vary in significance for widening participation.

Evaluation of work on widening participation and recruitment

During 2021 and 2022 there is a specific focus on work that concerns widening participation and recruitment at Lund University. The project is being conducted because the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has been tasked by the government to carry out an evaluation of higher education institutions’ work on widening participation. The deadline for submitting self-evaluations at the higher education institution level was 3 May 2021.

The evaluation questions aimed to analyse and assess work on widening participation regarding first, second and third cycle education based on Lund University’s specific profile and conditions. 

The self-evaluation was led by a group of staff members from all faculties as well as units in the central administration. It was carried out as part of a longer project which extends to UKÄ’s feedback conference, which is planned for the late autumn of 2022. UKÄ’s assessment group will then provide feedback to the higher education institutions in the form of graduated recommendations. These recommendations are not to be used in comparisons with the work of other participating higher education institutions.

Self-evaluation for UKÄ’s review of work on widening participation (PDF in Swedish, 555 kB, new tab)

Overall policy document 

Lund University’s Strategic Plan 2017-2026 is the university-wide plan that states the overall direction for all activities. The introduction includes this statement: “The strategic plan highlights the development areas which will determine our success over the next 10 years.” Among the prioritised areas it is stated that diversity in education and research is to be strengthened through widening participation.

Information on Lund University’s Strategic Plan 2017-2026

Lund University’s policy for gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity states, among other things, that “In its work on equal opportunities, Lund University prioritises … : systematic and focused work to increase gender equality and diversity in recruitment and reception of students. … increased accessibility and adaptation so that everyone has the same opportunities to study and work at Lund University”.

Information on Lund University’s policy on gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity 

Activities for widening participation at the University

There are several different activities for widening participation at Lund University. Below, you can read about a selection of activities at each faculty and at other units in the central administration.

Since 2020, the School of Economics and Management has worked on an extra initiative linked to widening participation and recruitment. The faculty is currently working both strategically and operationally on widening participation, for example through Academic Skills Services, which provide academic writing support to the students, as well as study mentors.

The environment at the School of Economics and Management is international and English is used to a considerable extent, which also enables broader selection and admission among researchers from different parts of the world.

Contact information

Pernilla Honoré
Study advisor
School of Economics and Management
pernilla [dot] honore [at] fek [dot] lu [dot] se

Various initiatives relating to widening participation and recruitment are being carried out at the Faculties of Humanities and Theology.

Some of the activities at the faculties:

An annual conference, Providing Guidance for Studies in the Humanities, Theology and Social Sciences, is organised in cooperation with the Faculty of Social Sciences. The conference, which is intended for study and careers advisors at upper secondary schools, aims to inspire and provide information about the faculties’ courses and study programmes.

The Faculties of Humanities and Theology also offers courses in Swedish as a foreign language, as well as the Department of Philosophy’s introductory course to university studies, as a part of Lund University’s overall introductory semester. The courses aim to create a broader entry point to higher education. 

Contact information

Sara Håkansson
Pro dean
Faculties of Humanities and Theology
sara [dot] hakansson [at] englund [dot] lu [dot] se
 

At the Faculty of Law, work on widening participation is steered by a number of action plans. The work is followed up annually and a report is submitted to the faculty board. The operational work is coordinated within one of the faculty’s divisions. All activities for widening participation and recruitment are seen as a part of the faculty’s regular education task and are funded through it.

In 2010, the Faculty of Law developed an online basic law course – Extended Introductory Course in Law (UJIK). The aim is to inspire young people from a non-academic background to try university studies. However, the course is open for all those who meet the entry requirements for higher education and have a guaranteed place. It is intended to be an attractive course that everyone can benefit from, regardless of what they go on to do after completing the course, but is it is also a try-it-for-yourself course in academic studies with a qualification element. Each semester, the 20 best students are offered a place on the law degree programme in Lund – regardless of the other study credentials they may have.  

The Faculty of Law, also carries out visits to upper secondary schools that have a low transition rate to higher education. Student employees in a mentor role give a lesson about law according to the social sciences curriculum and provide information about the possibilities afforded by the Extended Introductory Course in Law.

The faculty has established that the students appreciate being able to ask a peer for advice. The students on the law degree programme are therefore invited to participate in a preparatory Facebook group, and once there all are invited to take part in what is known as the Lawyers’ Workshop. These activities are run by student employees.

Contact information

Magnus Svensson
Head of office, Infrastructure, Distance and Commissioned Education 
Faculty of Law
magnus [dot] svensson [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se
 

Initiatives to gain ground in widening participation are stated in the faculty’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022). The work consists of recruiting students from new target groups, strengthening contacts and cooperation with wider society, and creating continuing professional development courses for lifelong learning.

One of the activities at the faculty:

In August 2019, the Malmö Theatre Academy commenced a collaboration with Fridhem Folk High School – Fridhem Dramatic Art Studio. It is a bilingual course and the participants come from different backgrounds (including vulnerable residential areas) and have different experiences of theatre. The collaboration was initiated as both the Malmö Theatre Academy and Fridhem Folk High School were thinking about developing a course with an aim to widen participation in higher education within dramatic art, and by extension the Swedish theatre. 

Contact information

Staffan Storm
Pro dean
Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts in Malmö
staffan [dot] storm [at] mhm [dot] lu [dot] se
 

The Faculty of Engineering (LTH) conducts work on widening participation through its strategic plan “To actively work with primary and lower and upper secondary schools in order to strengthen the process of widening participation...”. Matters involving widening participation and recruitment are processed by the management group for first and second cycle studies and by the management group for gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity. LTH’s management has also appointed a person with a specific assignment to develop work on widening participation.

Some of the activities at the faculty:

  • The Vattenhallen Science Centre offers, among other things, school visits and develops and conducts professional development courses for teachers, from pre-school to upper secondary school. 
  • Create your Future involves students from different backgrounds visiting schools with an aim to inspire year-eight pupils to continue studying and dare to fulfil their dreams. The schools that are visited often have a low transition rate to higher education. 
  • Her Tech Future inspires young women who are studying in the second year of the upper secondary school technical and science programme to apply to LTH. 
  • Technical Eight is a nationwide competition held each year for all year-eight pupils in Swedish schools.
  • The NMT days, held annually by the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine and LTH, are visited each year by around 6 000 upper secondary school pupils and teachers. 
  • The engineering foundation year provides a guaranteed place on the student’s preferred Bachelor of Science in Engineering programme at LTH and the qualification to apply for the Fire Protection Engineering and Engineering programmes. A foundation year with a science specialisation started in 2020. 

Contact information

Annika Mårtensson
Professor at the Division of Structural Engineering
Faculty of Engineering (LTH)
annika [dot] martensson [at] lth [dot] lu [dot] se
 

At the Faculty of Medicine, work on widening participation is divided between faculty and programme managements, and between different boards and units.

Some of the activities at the faculty:

  • The NMT days, held annually by the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science and LTH, are visited each year by around 6 000 upper secondary school pupils and teachers. 
  • In 2021, a health science foundation year was initiated as an important part of the work on widening participation. All students who have passed every course in the foundation year are given a guaranteed place on a number of programmes. 
  • The Nursing programme has developed an assessment of prior learning in its selection procedure. 
  • Certain courses and programmes are widened through additional studies being intertwined with first and second cycle education, such as supplementary education for physicians with a foreign degree.  
  • There is an even gender balance among doctoral students at the faculty and a relatively large percentage are international doctoral students. Regarding third cycle programmes, many of the doctoral students are part-time doctoral students who combine their third cycle studies with clinical professional practice. This contributes to a broader age distribution among the doctoral students. 

Contact information

David Paulsson
Quality coordinator
Faculty of Medicine
david [dot] paulsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se
 

At the Faculty of Science, the Education Board is responsible for the promotion of widening participation in education activities. The Education Board cooperates with the faculty’s Labour Market Council on matters concerning the labour market and employability, and with the faculty’s Committee for Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities on matters concerning the perspectives of gender equality and equal opportunities in the course and study programmes. 

Some of the activities at the faculty:

  • The Vattenhallen Science Centre offers, among other things, school visits and develops and conducts professional development courses for teachers, from pre-school to upper secondary school. 
  • Doctoral Students in Learning is an external engagement initiative between the faculty and a number of municipalities in north-west Skåne.
  • The NMT days, held annually by the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine and LTH, are visited each year by around 6 000 upper secondary school pupils and teachers. 
  • The folk high school Hvilan in Åkarp and the Faculty of Science have collaborated since 2015 on the science foundation year that is conducted at Hvilan. 
  • In the autumn of 2020, a foundation year with a science specialisation started at the University and is based mainly at Campus Helsingborg. Passing the foundation year provides a guaranteed place on the faculty’s HE entrant courses.
  • The faculties first and second cycle courses and study programmes have strong connections with research, particularly in the second cycle. Up to 15% of those with a second cycle degree go on to third cycle studies. A considerable proportion of the faculty’s doctoral students are recruited internationally. The faculty also works to develop the recruitment process for doctoral students in order to attract the best candidates, regardless of background. 

Contact information

Ina Alexandersson
Faculty programme director
Faculty of Science
ina [dot] alexandersson [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se
 

At the Faculty of Social Sciences, matters concerning widening participation are handled by the Education Board and Research Studies Board, under the leadership of the pro dean and vice dean respectively. A lot of the operational work is carried out at departmental level. In 2021, the Education Board introduced an extra initiative regarding widening participation and recruitment. 

Some of the activities at the faculty:

  • The faculty organises an annual conference, Providing Guidance for Studies in the Humanities, Theology and Social Sciences, in cooperation with the Faculties of Humanities and Theology, that is intended for study and careers advisors at upper secondary schools.
  • The faculty offers courses and programmes that are widened by commissioned education or supplementary education being intertwined with first cycle education, such as supplementary education for psychologists who have a foreign psychology degree.
  • The School of Social Work offers two freestanding online courses that correspond to semester 1 and 2 of the Social Work programme which, after an assessment of prior learning, may provide a special qualification for the programme.
  • All the departments at the faculty announce their doctoral studentship vacancies in both Swedish and English, which provides a certain widening in terms of applicants. Regarding doctoral student recruitment, the Department of Gender Studies, for example, has worked on reaching out on a broader basis. The vacancy announcement texts are written in an inclusive way and are spread via national and international channels. 

Contact information

Kristian Almqvist
Study advisor
Faculty of Social Sciences
kristian [dot] almquist [at] psy [dot] lu [dot] se

Lund University’s Cultural and Public Centres (LUKOM) consist of Lund University’s Botanical Garden, Lund University’s Historical Museum, Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art, and Odeum, which all have externally-oriented activities.

Skissernas Museum, for example, takes part in Bästa Biennalen, an art festival for children and young people covering Skåne, southern Småland and Halland. Skissernas Museum has also participated in a project with children in the Rosengård district of Malmö where, in cooperation with established artists, they designed a piece of public art that is now installed in the local area. The children who took part in the project visited Skissernas Museum and their artwork is now part of the public art archive.

All the centres arrange school holiday activities for children. Among other things, Skissernas Museum and the Botanical Garden have a joint summer art school. A few years ago, the Botanical Garden employed an educator to develop school activities in which the common denominator is sustainability. The Historical Museum has also developed school activities based on goals in the different school year curricula. Like the other centres, they use student guides and student hosts from different backgrounds.

Contact information

Sara Virkelyst
Administrative manager
Lund University’s Cultural and Public Centres
sara [dot] virkelyst [at] rektor [dot] lu [dot] se
 

Supplemental instruction (SI) – peer assisted study sessions – came to the University via the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science in the early 1990s. SI was developed to reduce the number of drop-outs and acts as a study circle led by a senior student trained in SI. The SI leader designs activities in which the students work on explaining and clarifying difficult course material, a process known as peer-learning. The aim of SI, besides improved performance in the relevant course, is that the students are to develop a good study technique, become more independent in their learning and feel well-integrated in an academic context. 

Within Lund University, SI is currently used by most faculties and the results are very good. The SI leaders also state that they develop skills in leadership, communication and how to manage groups, as well as gain increased self-confidence.

SI constitutes an important part of the work on widening participation at the University, and in recent years has also been used as a method for widening recruitment. Today, trained SI leaders visit upper secondary schools in Skåne and Halland, a project funded by Region Skåne and Region Halland.

Contact information

Lise-Lotte Mörner
Project manager
SI unit
lise-lotte [dot] morner [at] stu [dot] lu [dot] se
 

Division of External Relations

The Division of External Relations (ER) has principal responsibility for university-wide student recruitment. ER coordinates recruitment activities at the University with the faculties, nationally and internationally. ER also includes a university-wide unit for Alumni Relations and Employability. In addition, since a decision by the university-wide Education Board, ER has been tasked to work on widening participation with the faculties and other support units within the University.

The National Student Recruitment unit works in an integrated way on widening participation, for example through various channels aimed at different target groups, and with printed and digital material which shows that Lund University welcomes everyone. The recruitment activities also highlight the support units that exist for students at Lund University, for example study guidance, learning support and mentors for supplemental instruction (SI).

The International Marketing and Recruitment (IMR) unit works on the recruitment of international students. Geographical diversity is an important aspect of this work. 

Contact information

Gunilla Carlecrantz
Project manager
Division of External Relations
gunilla [dot] carlecrantz [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se

Division of Student Affairs 

At the Division of Student Affairs (SoU), it is the General Study Guidance Service at Study Support and Advising Services that informs prospective students about options for studying at Lund University. The General Study Guidance Service also offers guidance during the period of studies in cooperation with study advisors, who are based at the faculties and departments.

Study Support and Advising Services also includes Learning Support which, in cooperation with the departments concerned, offers support to students with disabilities, and the Academic Support Centre, which offers all students courses and workshops in study technique and academic writing. The Student Health Centre is also part of the same division and can provide support and help for students who have worries that may affect their studies. The division is also involved in coordination of validation and prior learning in cooperation with the faculties.

Contact information

Kia Olsson
Head of office, Study Support and Advising Services 
Division of Student Affairs
kia [dot] olsson [at] stu [dot] lu [dot] se

Lund University Commissioned Education 

Lund University Commissioned Education (LUCE) works in accordance with the ordinance on commissioned education regarding the organising of staff training or education that is needed for labour market or aid policy reasons. As the admission procedure for commissioned education courses and programmes is different – i.e. not via the formal admissions system – other groups are reached that would not usually study at Lund University. In several cases these courses are the first contact with the University and a way in to apply for regular courses and study programmes in the next step. For example, participants in a Sida-funded capacity development programme went on to apply for Master’s programmes or doctoral studentships at the University. 

Contact information

Alexandra Hertz
Business developer, Lund University Commissioned Education
Division of Research, Collaboration and Innovation
alexandra [dot] hertz [at] education [dot] lu [dot] se

Recruitment initiatives and introduction activities

Recruitment initiatives at Lund University include participation in education fairs in Sweden and abroad, school visits, supervision of pupils within SI, inspiration days and open houses, collaborations with folk high schools and recruitment via social media. Many initiatives at the University focus on school collaborations, mainly involving upper secondary schools. 
Introduction activities are arranged at the start of each semester for all students at central, faculty, department and programme levels to varying extents with an aim to make all students, regardless of background, feel comfortable and at home in the study environment.  

Contact

Gunilla Carlecrantz
Project manager
Division of External Relations
+46 46 222 47 90
gunilla [dot] carlecrantz [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se

Division of External Relations
Visiting address: Stora Algatan 4, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund