According to the Higher Education Act, all higher education institutions have the task of working with broadened recruitment. This means that all Swedish universities must work actively to reach a different group of students than those who normally would apply to study at the university.
- Usually, broadened recruitment focuses on reaching students who do not come from an academic background, explains Hanna Gadd, head of SBIP and expert in UKÄ's evaluation of broadened recruitment. Even though more and more people are applying to study at universities, there are still a lower percentage of students who do not come from an academic home.
But broadened recruitment can also focus on other things, such as geography.
The work with broadened recruitment differs between universities and between programmes. At the programme level, the work with broadened recruitment is often focused on gender. Gadd says that, for example, investments in broadened recruitment are common to attract women to the more technical educations, while it is more rare with investments to try to get men to apply to study nursing.
By evaluating the work with broadened recruitment, UKÄ wants to create an opportunity to analyze and evaluate the work done at universities around the country to define strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges, and to provide feedback on the work.
UKÄ's evaluation shows that University West has come a long way within the work with broadened recruitment. For example, Ökad Högskoleövergång (Increased Higher Education Transition – Link in Swedish) is highlighted as a positive example of how collaboration can be part of the work with broadened recruitment. The work done within the group Framgångsrika Studier (Successful Studies – Link in Swedish), which aims to give all students equal opportunities to complete their studies, is also highlighted.
- We have a number of projects and activities that UKÄ had viewed positively when we received our recommendations, says Gadd. But we must also be able to show that these activities make a difference.
The evaluation shows that the university must have a better system when it comes to broadened recruitment.
- We have to get better at proving that we do good things, Gadd explains. Today, we can not show that we are good at broadening recruitment through follow-up. So we need to get better at targeting our work and then evaluating it - so that we can show which activities actually led to which result.
At University West, the focus in the near future will be on reviewing UKÄ's recommendations.
- The recommendations we have received are very clear, says Gadd and continues, we believe that we do not need to change so much in how we work. We just have to get better at demonstrating the good work we do.
One goal is to hire someone part-time to work with broadened recruitment. The person in question will work to create a better system and with concrete tasks linked to broadened recruitment and broadened participation.
UKÄ will not carry out any further evaluation. However, in the spring of 2024, they will follow up to see if the recommendations they have suggested have led to improvements.