How might a diversity audit enhance inclusivity on the course(s) you are involved with?

I believe that Unit Evaluations should be tailored to the units instead of being kept general as they are now. This results in students being forced to answer questions which have no relation to the unit at all and in turn can end up lowering the unit's overall rating. For example, I teach statistics and students are asked to rate Writing Skills and English Language and Study skills as part of their evaluations!!

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Figure 1. An example of a unit evaluation criteria which has no direct relevance to the topic I teach.

Also, whilst Universities appear to be focusing heavily on how material and individual teaching styles are fostering inclusivity, they seem to be overlooking the location and rooms used for teaching. For example, some teaching rooms are always found to be either too cold or too warm for the students with no viable solution with centrally controlled heating for the entire building. On some instances, sessions are timetabled into rooms with insufficient space to hold the entire class (owing to a lack of space overall). Such issues result negatively on the pursuit for improving inclusivity and a diversity audit has the capability of identifying these problems and finding plausible solutions.

Another point which could be helped by a diversity audit is the learning outcomes/ marking criteria on UHB's. This also happens to be a key point noted in Ali et al. (2011). These are primarily worded to meet Quality standards as per the regulatory and quality assurance requirements. However, most students find it difficult to get their heads around the wording of these points and thereby fail to understand the true requirements, which in turn can result in poor submissions. A diversity audit could find possible ways of enabling both professionally worded and more student centred learning outcomes/marking criteria which can undoubtedly enhance inclusivity further. 

There is also the possibility that a diversity audit might show the need for a more diversified faculty in terms of employing more international (non-EU) lecturers to work in unison with the EU and British lecturers at LCF. Authors such as Bhagat and O’Neill (2011) discuss the importance of such faculty and the positive impact it can have on BME students. Furthermore, when conducting a diversity audit, LCF can benefit by referring to the HEA's comprehensive self-evaluation framework (Ali et al., 2011).  In addition, a good starting point would be the checklist provided by Gore and Viney (2006) based on their own audit experience. 

References:

Ali, U., Hart, E., Baars, V., Kaur, R., Bailey, A., and Sesay, K. (2011). Liberation, Equality, and Diversity in the Curriculum[Online]. Available via: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/assets/NUS%20Liberation%20Equality%20and%20Diversity%20in%20the%20Curriculum%202011_tcm44-65179.pdf [Accessed: 14 June 2017]. 

Bhagat, D. and O’Neill, P. (2011) Inclusive Practices, Inclusive Pedagogies: Learning from Widening Participation Research in Art and Design Higher Education [Internet]. Croydon: CHEAD. Available from: http://www.ukadia.ac.uk/en/projects/index.cfm [Accessed 12 June 2017].

Gore, C., and Viney, D. (2006). Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination. Curriculum Innovation for Diversty. pp. 2. 

 

© Dr. Emmanuel Sirimal Silva, all rights reserved

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