Transforming Our Professional Services


Communities of Practice: Widening Participation

27 March 2019

UCL’s Communities of Practice (CoPs) have continued to grow. We caught up with the Widening Participation CoP.

Image of staff at a meeting

A Community of Practice at UCL unites staff working in similar areas and functions in order to help members develop professionally and improve their practices. They provide staff with opportunities to learn from each other by sharing knowledge and expertise and by working together on self-selected projects. They are supported by a Senior Sponsor who provides top-level recognition and strategic visibility.

We heard from Caroline Fionda Dedman, current Widening Participation (WP) CoP co-lead.

Widening Participation

“We are delighted to announce our new Community of Practice which aims to help UCL build a more diverse student body with a greater proportion of currently underrepresented groups.

“UCL has a central Access and Widening Participation Office in Student Registry Services, as well as numerous staff based in academic departments running outreach activities. By bringing these two groups together we have created the first Community of Practice that includes both academic members of staff and professional services staff.

“Currently led by Mark Fuller, Outreach Coordinator and Ogden Science Officer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and myself, Caroline Fionda Dedman, Access Manager in the Access and Widening Participation Office, the community has around 30 core members and will officially launch in the autumn. 

“The WP CoP is embarking on four initial projects, beginning with a project to map the current interaction between our academic departments and prospective students. There is a high volume of outreach activity happening across the university, from talks in schools, hosting school visits to work experience placements. We’d like to find out more about all of the activity that’s happening, and will be sending an online survey to departments shortly. Please take the time to record any activities you’ve run. 

“We are also developing a best practice toolkit for all staff delivering outreach activity, as well as a collaborative research network bringing together academic researchers and practitioners from across UCL.

“I got involved because I am passionate about widening participation and working collaboratively. For us to really make a change we need everyone at UCL to work together and I hope that this CoP will help this become a reality.

“If you or a colleague would like to learn more about this area of work, share best practice and help to diversify the UCL student body please get in touch with myself or Mark Fuller to join the Widening Participation CoP.”

What’s next?

With the recent addition of Widening Participation and Student Health and Wellbeing along with the development of a Facilities Management CoP, we will soon have 10 different CoPs across UCL with over 1,000 core and wider CoP members working on over 40 ongoing community-led projects.

We have confirmed two new CoPs within the Research Support practice area so far which are Engineering Technicians and Research IT. We are also looking to set up CoPs in Finance and ISD.

If you want to get involved and be part of any of these communities, please get in touch with Daniela Bultoc

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