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Higher education outreach: examining key challenges for academics

Johnson, Matthew; Danvers, Emily; Hinton-Smith, Tamsin; Atkinson, Kate; Bowden, Gareth; Foster, John; Garner, Kristina; Garrud, Paul; Greaves, Sarah; Harris, Patricia; Hejmadi, Momna; Hill, David; Hughes, Gwen; Jackson, Louise; O�Sullivan, Angela; �Tuama, S�amus; Perez Brown, Pilar; Philipson, Pete; Ravenscroft, Simon; Rhys, Mirain; Ritchie, Tom; Talbot, Jon; Walker, David; Watson, Jon; Williams, Myfanwy; Williams, Sharon


Matthew Johnson

Emily Danvers

Tamsin Hinton-Smith

Kate Atkinson

Gareth Bowden

John Foster

Kristina Garner

Paul Garrud

Sarah Greaves

Patricia Harris

Momna Hejmadi

David Hill

Associate Professor

Louise Jackson

Angela O�Sullivan

S�amus �Tuama

Pilar Perez Brown

Pete Philipson

Simon Ravenscroft

Mirain Rhys

Tom Ritchie

Jon Talbot

David Walker

Jon Watson

Myfanwy Williams

Sharon Williams


How should academic staff engage in outreach with communities outside of the university? The need of academics to answer this question has intensified in the UK given the changing priorities of academic job roles, shaped by increasing institutional concern for widening participation, graduate employability and research impact in an era of austerity and high tuition fees. While university outreach professionals, such as those in widening participation, have access to a range of networks, resources and support mechanisms for outreach activity, academics often face a series of profession-specific pressures that make engagement in outreach complex and contingent. This article draws upon the experience of 25 academics from 18 different subject areas and 18 institutions to examine and provide responses to key challenges faced by academics involved in outreach in the UK. We examine such issues as: the conceptualisation of outreach; funding; recognition and management of workload; nurturing relationships with internal and external partners; capacity-building; commercial interests, payment and responsibility; pedagogical style and content; integration of outreach into curricula, and evaluation of programmes. The examination offered is not all encompassing, but acts as a series of reference points to consider the challenges faced by UK academics in an evolving outreach sector.


Johnson, M., Danvers, E., Hinton-Smith, T., Atkinson, K., Bowden, G., Foster, J., …Williams, S. (2019). Higher education outreach: examining key challenges for academics. British Journal of Educational Studies, 1-23.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 4, 2019
Publication Date Feb 4, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 5, 2020
Journal British Journal of Educational Studies
Print ISSN 0007-1005
Electronic ISSN 1467-8527
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-23
Keywords Academic outreach; Higher education; Widening participation; Engagement
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Educational Studies on 04 February 2019, available online:


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