Inclusiveness in the 21st Century: Glasgow Caledonian University’s approach

Angela Shapiro, Joanna Marshall-Bhullar, Margaret McShane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Over the last six years, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Scotland has run study skills programmes, 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.
This chapter will discuss and present the findings from quantitative and qualitative research that investigated whether there is a correlation between pre-entry support, increased confidence and academic performance. Although feedback from attendees at the study skills workshops has been very positive, it is acknowledged that the impact of this type of support is difficult to quantify; however the qualitative and quantitative outcomes to date would indicate that students have integrated well into their programmes.
The study skills programme provides students with the opportunity to: increase confidence; engage with support services before the start of their programme of study; encourages 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 three Learning Development Centres. This enables students the opportunity for individualised and flexible support as and when required.
Data included completed evaluation forms that examined the efficacy of the programme. The aims were to assess if there was a correlation between pre-entry support, increased confidence and academic performance. The evaluations indicated that 80% of the students found that the ‘Taking Responsibility for your own Learning’ programme was very useful to them for providing information about the support services available at the university. The chapter will present more detail in regards to academic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategies for Facilitating Inclusive Campuses in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion: 17 (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning)
EditorsJaimie Hoffman, Patrick Blessinger, Mandla Makhanya
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781787560642
ISBN (Print)9781787560659
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameInnovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISSN (Print)2055-3641


  • widening access
  • higher education
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • disability
  • inclusion
  • assistive technology

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