Universities have changed rapidly during the last decades, not the least due to far-reaching social responsibilities. It is today considered as essential for both societal and democratic development that a greater proportion of the population has access to higher education. This change has resulted in a larger number of enrolled students as well as a larger heterogeneity in student groups. In the transition to higher education, many students find it challenging to meet academic literacy expectations and requirements. Academic literacy can be defined as the multidimensional ability to “(a) write for different purposes, audiences, and occasions; (b) access, interpret, and evaluate information; (c) think critically; (d) reflect one’s performance; and (e) create new texts and new knowledge.” (Yancey, 2009). To achieve access to these abilities, students need support from the university and their teachers.
This research area aims to gain a more profound understanding of the literacy challenges students with different languages, ethnicity, and class backgrounds face in various higher education contexts. Moreover, we are interested in investigating how university teachers can address those challenges to strengthen students’ language and knowledge development, thereby supporting them in building their identities as university students and future professionals.