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Witness to “a really exciting and powerful moment”

20 Jan 2020

Meet our Widening Participation champion, Paul Tobin

Dr Paul Tobin

For Dr Paul Tobin, Widening Participation lets him witness the “really exciting and powerful moment” a new world is revealed to a young student and meet people “buzzing” with bright ideas.

Paul is our WP lead for the Politics Department in the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Humanities.

He and colleagues, including WP Fellow Dayo Eseonu, organise seminars, events and talks with three goals in mind: encouraging students from all backgrounds to attend university if they wish to; helping students realise their potential once they’re here; and helping students to consider further Higher Education at postgraduate level if they wish to continue their studies.

“University can be a fantastic place to broaden horizons and discover new pathways in a person’s life that they’ve not previously thought possible,” he explains.

“The great thing about WP is that you see the realisation that university can be a new intellectual home for a room of people who perhaps have never imagined it could be so, and see that realisation occur in real time.

“It can be a really exciting and powerful moment for the future student.”

He adds: “A recent pleasant surprise was while I was giving a talk recently to a local school about climate change. I was using a couple of slides from a pre-existing university lecture of mine, in order to show that university lectures are understandable and are not a million miles away from their current knowledge.

“What really wowed me was just how informed and knowledgeable the pupils were about climate change already. I knew they’d be clued up, but the room was buzzing with new ideas and nuanced perspectives.”

Paul passionately believes that a university education should be available to anybody who has the ability and wishes to pursue it: "Our WP schemes exist to remove potential obstacles to university education that should never have been in the way in the first place."

And, he urges colleagues to read our WP Annual Report: “It’s a vital means of capturing just how much is going on! Pages 5-6 really show the wide range of activities underway across the University.”

Read the report

To read the report, visit:

Or watch the film:

Get involved

If you want to get involved in our rewarding widening participation work, or have any questions, please contact:

Or if you have your own widening participation story, share it with us at: