Dean of Science, Professor Sherria Hoskins, wins funding to change lives

-Article from UoP News


Disadvantaged students are to benefit from a new project, led by the University of Portsmouth, which aims to challenge stereotypes to raise the expectations of students and their teachers and to build belief in their abilities.


The project, run by Professor Sherria Hoskins, Dean of Science at the University of Portsmouth, has been awarded £500,000 by Hefce, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.


She and Dr Jessica Gagnon, senior research fellow in the University’s School of Education and Childhood Studies, will lead the project with 5,200 university students and 800 university staff who work with them at five universities.


The students who will benefit are from the groups least likely to apply to university and, if they do attend, most likely to drop out, or not perform well academically, despite entering with excellent qualifications.


The main aim of the project is to try and close the attainment gap in black and minority ethnic groups and those from the working class.


The changing mindsets project includes helping overturn sometimes deeply-held beliefs and prejudices that an individual can’t achieve, and replacing it with an understanding that the ability to do things grows through effort and by embracing challenges. It has been reported to have had a profound effect on children and their teachers in previous trials.


Professor Hoskins said: “This is the first time a group of UK universities have joined forces to trial a project which has the potential to eradicate the impact of stereotype threat on performance in university students.


“I am delighted to have won funding; it underlines the urgent need to find out why some people who are more than capable intellectually of studying at university so often fail to complete their courses, or do so with lower grades.  It is not acceptable to continue to accept the achievement gap between students who enter with similar grades.


“Our belief is that growth mindset techniques – which is relatively simple to apply – will help change the culture in higher education institutions, by working with students and teaching staff.


“We expect the results will help bring about a sea change for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to study and do extremely well at university.”


Read more on UoP News.


Write a comment

Comments: 0