Opportunities to engage students as partners in addressing the BAME Awarding Gap.
Student Curriculum Partners
Research shows that inclusive curriculum initiatives benefit all students. To help us enhance the inclusivity of UCL’s curriculum, we developed the Inclusive Curriculum Health Check, a resource designed to help staff reflect on the inclusivity of their programmes. However, this resource does not account for student perspectives on the inclusivity of the curriculum. To bridge this gap, the BAME Awarding Gap Project set-up the Student Curriculum Partners (SCP) Scheme, which offers the opportunity for students and staff to work together to enhance the inclusivity of the curriculum, particularly concerning race and ethnicity.
Student Curriculum Partners are responsible for reviewing modules in pairs or small groups using a supporting guidance framework. Students then have the option of sharing their feedback directly with staff, or having their feedback shared anonymously through the BAME Awarding Gap project team, to help facilitate change. This is an opportunity for students to enhance the curriculum for themselves and their peers, and to shape the future of UCL’s learning experience.
How do I get involved?
If you would like to take part, or would like further information on the scheme, please contact Sukhi Bath, Head of BAME Awarding Gap Project (Student Succes, UCL Student and Registry Services).
- What does the role involve?
- Attending a training session
- Carrying out a review with fellow Student Curriculum Partners using a supporting guidance framework
- Completing a written proforma (as a pair or group) detailing your feedback
- Discussing your feedback with the BAME Awarding Gap Project team
- Participating in an optional meeting to share your feedback directly with the relevant module convenors. Please note this is not mandatory and your feedback will be anonymised should you not wish to participate in this meeting
- Corresponding with the scheme co-ordinator as required
- What is the time committment?
The scheme requires no more than 20 hours work in total.
- Will I get paid for taking part?
Yes, the role attracts a stipend of £150.00.
- What skills will I develop in this role?
The scheme is an opportunity for you to enhance your analysis, communication, and influencing skills. It is also an opportunity to meet other students and take part in work to improve the student experience for future cohorts of UCL students.
- What does the role involve for module convenors?
We request that module convenors identify modules to be reviewed and attend a feedback meeting to discuss the outcomes of the students' evaluation. We also request the department send out a recruitment email provided by the project team to promote the scheme.
We have also run tailored versions of the scheme with departments where module convenors have worked directly with students during the review process. For example, students have worked directly under the guidance of the convenor to carry out a review on specific aspects of the curriculum. A tailored process like this works well if you already have some ideas in mind about aspects of the curriculum you would like to enhance and are looking for student input on developing these changes.
- What is the time committment?
The project team manages the adminstration of the scheme. Whilst the scheme requires minimal adminstrative input from departments or module convenors, any changes you make as a result the feedback may require an additional time committment.
- What faculties and departments have you worked with?
The scheme was launched in 2018/19 and has been run with programmes from Social and Historical Sciences (SHS), Life Sciences, Laws, Arts and Humanities, IOE and Engineering.
- What kind of changes have students suggested and can I see examples of student reviews?
The suggestions from students have been wide-ranging, including but not limited to, expanding reading lists, updating course imagery, reconsidering module names, use of anonymous Moodle forums, broader contextualisation of course content, use of diverse case studies and scenarios, inclusion of trigger warnings and context disclaimers, changes to assessment and feedback, inclusion of a module glossary, reflection and acknowledgement of lecturer positionality, and addressing potentially problematic content (for example, which may reinforce existing stereotypes and bias). If you would like to see some examples of completed reviews, please contact Sukhi Bath (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What have staff and students said about taking part?
First, let’s get some worries out of the way: while the idea of having students look in detail at a particular aspect of one’s module might seem threatening, the overall process was very friendly and collaborative. Again, contrary to fears that one might have, the process was also not onerous at all.
The results in the case of linguistics can be described as a friendly nudge to do better in some areas and positive reinforcement to keep doing well what we are doing well. In particular, the students noticed that in some of our first year modules we can make even more use of the knowledge and experience of our very diverse students (we have many overseas students who are speakers of historically completely unrelated languages). We plan to diversify examples used at the early stages of instruction away from standard English (convenient because it is also the lingua franca of instruction) and to less prestigious varieties of English and our students’ native languages. This will hopefully allow them to identify more strongly with the content of the classes and to reflect critically on the social dimensions of language use.
Staff member; Linguistics
“Last time, students reviewed 9 of our modules (mostly 1st year, but some 2nd year modules too) and there was some excellent feedback. We shared the very constructive and useful student feedback with module convenors, who invariably responded with both positive suggestions of changes that could be readily implemented as well as questions/challenges about how to engage with these issues holistically. It was invaluable as a starting point for thinking about how students perceive our teaching/content as well as for opening up conversations among colleagues about how we collectively respond to this. Staff member; Geography
Being from an underrepresented group from UCL, I feel like I was able to make an actual impact on the studies of future students from a similar background as me, avoiding feelings of 'imposter syndrome. Student; Geography
Within this role, we reviewed the materials of two modules in the Faculty of Brain Sciences BA Linguistics, examining the use of English language, inclusive terminology, diversity of assessment types, among other aspects of the course. We identified and reported on current good practices and points to consider to allow for more inclusivity, specifically in relation to race and ethnicity. Overall I found the work as a Student Curriculum Partner to be incredibly rewarding and fun, as this has been an opportunity to think outside of the box and make my course more adapted to all students. Student; Linguistics
Through this program, I gained a deeper understanding of the Laws Faculty and its aims in relation to the curriculum. I felt that my suggestions and ideas were valued by the module convenors. I also really enjoyed the discussion aspect of the program as I felt that the discussion allowed me to truly understand the ways in which the Faculty wanted to increase ED&I content specifically. Student; Laws
It was an enriching experience to discuss and share the experiences of the curriculum from a critical perspective with my classmates. It was thought-provoking and a great learning experience to understand the different elements of the curriculum and how they are perceived by students from diverse backgrounds. The most rewarding aspect of the experience was to share our thoughts and help improve parts of the curriculum to make it more inclusive towards all students. Student; Anthropology