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Leeds Trinity explores ways to integrate refugee students

Researcher Dr Helen Hanna has been awarded a grant to travel to Kenya to research new and better ways of tackling current challenges facing the UK

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 30, 2017 | Research

Researcher at Leeds Trinity University awarded £7k grant to support research into integration of refugees within Higher Education.

Dr Helen Hanna will spend six weeks in Kenya and Canada this summer, looking at best practice in refugee inclusion and how this can be implemented within higher education in the UK.

She has been awarded a travel fellowship of £6,620 from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, a fund to encourage travel overseas in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling current challenges facing the UK.

Dr Hanna, a Lecturer in Children, Young People and Families at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am passionate that all students feel included within the educational environment, but with the recent ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe, I have become concerned that UK universities are under-prepared for the entry of refugee students into their institutions. I am honoured that the Trust considers this research an area of interest, and I’m confident the fund will allow me to further my research.”

During her visit in June and September this year, Dr Hanna will engage with universities, charities and refugees, where she will interview staff, observe classes, meet local NGOs and record discussions about inclusive policies and approaches. Her findings will then be collated before making recommendations for better integration of refugees within higher education in the UK.

Kenya and Canada are two countries known for best practice in refugee integration, and I’m confident this opportunity will enhance my understanding of the barriers faced by refugees in accessing higher education - Dr Helen Hanna, researcher at Leeds Trinity University

She added: “Kenya and Canada are two countries known for best practice in refugee integration, and I’m confident this opportunity will enhance my understanding of the barriers faced by refugees in accessing higher education. This will then support me in finding solutions that will benefit refugees in the UK.”

On her return to the UK, Dr Hanna will compile guidelines for higher education staff about how best to integrate refugee students. She will implement best practice in her own teaching, and will work with Students’ Unions, volunteer centres and refugee assistance groups across the UK to promote the guidelines.

Keep up to date with Dr Hanna’s research by following her on Twitter – @DrHelenHanna.   

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