Davies and Jefferies summarize in their chapter the many changes that have taken place in the HE sector over recent years. Widening participation has meant that many students are the first in their families to have the opportunity to go to university. At the same time the increased cost of being a student means that many more students live at home and attend their local university than was the case previously, and many more now try to support themselves financially by undertaking paid employment at the same time as their studies.
Universities themselves have changed also. Davies and Jefferies note a trend towards compacting the academic week, thus bringing new stresses of crammed timetables interspersed with periods of possible isolation, particularly for those living at home. Wade notes the ubiquitous presence of satellite campuses and the tendency to locate core welfare services centrally In all of this there are clearly different, if not increased, possibilities for psychological stress. Wade makes similar points to Davies and Jefferies about the stresses that can be caused directly by universities, where setting challenges for students is a deliberate intention of programmes of study. He goes on to note that the kinds of difficulty in coping with stress that students experience may develop into mental illness.
University educators therefore need to recognize that these new pressures exist, and try to find new ways of offering support. Most teachers at all levels of the educational system will vouch for the debilitating effect of new pressures on learners. Any notion of 'special teaching' will need to encompass the capability of responding proactively to changing social and