In order to open the Big Conversation 2019, I thought it would be helpful to consider the issue of inequalities. While it is difficult to prioritise any one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the challenge to reduce inequalities is particularly pertinent. In our University, we can see inequalities in action because we have gaps in access, attainment and employment outcomes for different groups of students. We also know that inclusion and a sense of belonging are key features that impact on student progress and success.
In short, some of our students do not feel that this is a place where they fully ‘belong’. So, the question is: how can we establish a more inclusive learning environment that generates a sense of belonging for all our students?
Across our University we already have some outstanding work underway to address these issues, and this Conversation opens with two examples. One Blog has been written by students in the Law School who are working with staff to better understand the issues faced by BAME students. The second Blog has been written by staff in the School of Government and Society who have employed an external advisor to help them to focus on inclusion in their curriculum and practices. Both are examples of actions from which we can all learn, so many thanks to these contributors for sharing their experiences.
How can you share your thoughts, comments and actions?
We are all part of an incredible learning community. If we work together and share our expertise and evidence – as befits a research-intensive organisation – we can make progress on many of the challenges we face.
So, please enrich this Conversation with your thoughts, comments, experiences, challenges and ideas. Feel free to point us to great readings, and to invite informed guests to contribute. Let’s use this Conversation as a platform for sharing all that best about being a part of a university community, and defining a new future for our education offer.
You can also add a comment at the end of any existing post.
How will the Conversation proceed and what will it achieve?
This is your Conversation so its content, shape and quality will be determined by your contributions. You can submit a Blog at any time and on any theme that addresses the overall Conversation topic:
Research-intensive learning, teaching and curriculum at the University of Birmingham: Designing a model fit for the future