The issues that must be addressed to achieve greater equity in higher education opportunity are complex and can most effectively be tackled through the collaborative intervention of many stakeholders in and beyond education systems and their pathways. GAPS Initiative has as its objective to become a collaborative, multi-sectorial network made up of many players whose combined efforts will make a difference locally and globally in higher education outcomes.
To build this collaborative global network, the GAPS Initiative is looking to four main target audiences:
- The existing ‘access and success community’ (A & S) across the world: individuals, institutions and organizations actively working on widening access to higher education and increasing student success at the local, regional, national and international levels. This may include local, state and national access networks; access practitioners; researchers; young people, students and student groups active on these issues; policy-makers; the leadership and faculty of higher education institutions and their associations; actors working within and outside of formal learning systems; as well as access programs operating in the pathway to post-secondary studies, with specific underserved populations or in communities.
- Higher education institutions and policy-makers that define the policies, systems, pedagogies and resources with which the access community works on issues of access and success for underrepresented groups at the global, regional and local levels, and that shape the prevailing culture surrounding higher education opportunity.
- Not-for-profit and voluntary sectors and civil society groups: individuals and organizations that are working to eliminate barriers to further education and to enhance educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups in their communities and other social determinants of health. Barriers come in many different forms and while they are most frequently attributable to birth and gender, race and circumstance, there are also academic, cultural, disability, financial, geographic, institutional, political, social, systemic and other factors.
- People and organizations that are not necessarily working at the forefront of the access movement but whose objectives are generally aligned with those of GAPS: other education and social innovation networks, governments at all levels including civic leaders and economic and regional development officials, employers and employer groups, public and private sector actors that provide infrastructure, innovation, enabling technologies, the media, as well as the philanthropic community and social entrepreneurs.