Maths Sparks: Developing Community and Widening Participation

Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Anthony Cronin


Improving the engagement of university students in wider issues of teaching and learning is now an important driver in higher education. Additionally, widening the participation of those who access higher education is a matter of increasing prominence. In this paper we report on a case study initiative addressing both of these issues in a university mathematics department. Staff and university students collaborated in developing a series of mathematics workshops, called Maths Sparks, for secondary school pupils from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. We report on the development of student-staff community as a result of establishing this programme and discuss the increased engagement and motivation of both university students and secondary pupils participating in the series of activity-based workshops.


student engagement; student-staff community; widening participation; outreach

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