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IN FOCUS: Building trust with underrepresented student groups

ACA Think Pieces: Inclusion in International Higher Education: European Perspectives & Insights 

At the start of this year, 2021, ACA prioritised learning more about and supporting inclusion in international higher education in the context of Europe. We decided to publish our insights along the way with the help of experts in the area of inclusion through a new ACA Think Piece series, Inclusion in International Higher Education: European Perspectives & Insights. 


 Gohar Hovhannisyan: Building trust with underrepresented student groups 

After the summer break, we are returning with Gohar Hovhannisyan’s article on building trust between institutional coordinators and university staff with underrepresented student groups and their representatives. With COVID-19 still looming over international higher education, pending issues are felt the strongest by underrepresented groups as it is much harder for them to make any tentative planning and find usually not widely available support. 

With inclusion and diversity being increasingly addressed in policy documents and national strategies, there is still much progress to be done in practice. This is especially relevant for raising interest among underrepresented groups where university staff are often left frustrated and disappointed after not being able to successfully reach out to them. Reflecting on the project done in Armenia, Gohar lays out some practical steps which could overcome existing barriers. 

Gohar Hovhannisyan was with the Executive Committee of the European Students' Union closely following the developments of European higher education policymaking between 2017 and 2020. Gohar has also served as a student expert for multiple Quality Assurance accreditations and reviews in different European countries. As a student representative, she spent almost seven years advocating for quality education at the institutional, national, and European levels. Gohar currently serves as Project & Policy Officer in the Higher Education Policy Unit at European University Association. 

Read Gohar’s article here