SMILE aims to promote inclusive learning by developing, testing and implementing innovative tools that improve the way higher education institutions deal with diversity and social inclusion. SMILE will fully take on board the experience and grass-roots knowledge of the relevant community groups, who will play an important role throughout the project.
The work will focus on 3 main areas of inequality and disadvantage in higher education:
SMILE’s preparatory phase includes desk research, work with the community and peer learning.
SMILE will develop 3 CPD courses addressed to university staff (academic and non-academic) so that they are better trained to address the needs of 1) students with migrant background, 2) university staff as well as students/alumni and 3) students from lower socio-economic groups and. The CPD courses will be developed and tested via a bottom up approach that will involve role models, representatives of the indirect beneficiaries, NGOs and community groups, with the aim to give voice to the extensive experience of professionals, volunteers, parents, as well as both potential and current learners.
Diversity Audit Tool
In parallel, SMILE will develop a Diversity Audit Tool to support universities self-reflecting and assessing their commitment to diversity and social inclusion, with a focus on the 3 SMILE pillars (migrant background, women leadership, socio-economic issues). The Diversity Audit Tool will be tested and continuously improved through a peer-audit process that will involve a total of 20 universities.
At the end of the process, the Diversity Audit Tool will be finalised and made available for any institution interested in using it.
A policy operational action plan with recommendations will also be produced, to guide and support universities fulfilling and realising their commitment to diversity and social inclusion.
Dissemination and exploitation activities will include the organisation of national and transnational events, and include national colloquiums with key institutional and national decision-makers and a European round-table in Brussels and a final symposium in Barcelona.