Setting the scene for the REACT programme: aims, challenges and the way ahead

Tom Lowe, Elisabeth Dunne


This paper provides an introduction to the two-year programme REACT (Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation), funded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) from July 2015 to July 2017. REACT has at its core three institutional student-engagement initiatives and these are described in order to give a background context to the joint foci of the programme: student engagement and hard-to-reach students, both of which terms are considered as complex and problematic. The paper lays out the aims and ambitions of REACT, considers the many challenges of interpreting them in practice and highlights how this multi-streamed programme has developed across three core Universities, in collaboration of twelve further Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from across England. It also describes the three core strands of the programme: the Collaborative Development Programme, the REACT Research Project, and Dissemination, each of which was of importance to planning and heavily influenced programme outcomes.

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