Students celebrate the completion of Discover Summer School
23 August 2018
Deaf and hard of hearing high-school students celebrate the completion of a summer school at UCL, which introduces university life to pupils from widening participation target groups.
Now in its fifth year, the UCL Widening Participation programme, in partnership with the Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre, delivers the Discover UCL Summer School, a residential summer school that aims to equip D/deaf and hard of hearing (HoH) pupils for university life and to take steps to make UCL's student population more diverse and inclusive.
The three-day program brought together staff and students from different areas of the university as well as external experts to deliver the one-of-a-kind programme to the 11 students who participated in this year's programme.
The summer school was fully accessible, providing British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and speech-to-text reporting and was delivered by a team of UCL staff and students who were deaf-aware and included BSL users.
The students participated in a range of activities, including practical information sessions (covering issues like student finance and funding for disability support); mini lectures tailored to the students' interests; D/deaf role model presentations; and Q&A sessions. There were also advisory sessions designed to prepare D/deaf people for university life; object-based learning sessions with UCL Museums; and evening social activities including visiting some of London's attractions.
Manjula Patrick, from the DCAL Research Centre, said understanding the communication needs of different students and ensuring they get the right support is very important to their success at university.
"We hope that meeting deaf role models will build their aspirations and help them appreciate that deafness does not have to be a barrier," said Manjua.
Deaf and hard of hearing students are hugely under-represented in HE, they represent just 2.7% of the students declaring a disability (10.6% of all registered students). The Discover UCL Summer School is a small step towards redressing the balance.
"We were able to showcase UCL's facilities and convey that UCL will welcome and support D/deaf and HoH students, as well as demystify the university experience," added Alex Owusu, Access Officer at Access and Widening Participation Office.
Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs), was on hand at graduation day to show his support to the students and the programme itself.
"It is a great pleasure to award certificates to the terrific participants at this year's Discover UCL Summer School. Congratulations and thanks to our wonderful staff and student ambassadors," he said on Twitter.