Why diversify my reading list?
Research, both nationally and at the University of Kent, shows that reading lists that consider the diversity of the student body improve engagement and help to develop key graduate attributes. A minor change to your course materials could make a major change to the way a students, or a group of students, responds to the course.
Our own work at University of Kent on the Diversity Mark project has highlighted the importance of diversifying reading lists to help create a sense of belonging and increase cultural competencies. Academics and students involved in the project from SECL and SSPSR elaborate on specific outcomes of the project in the vidoes below:
We have also compiled some resources that makes the case for diversify reading lists to increase a sense of belonging and improve cultural competencies in students.
Arday, J. and Mirza, H. S. (2018) Dismantling race in higher education : racism, whiteness and decolonising the academy. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
*Podcast series elaborating on this book and issues discussed within.
Bhambra, G. K., Nişancıoğlu, K. and Gebrial, D. (2018) Decolonising the university. London: Pluto Press.
Office for Students (2020) Official Statistic: key performance measurement 4. Retrieved from https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/about/measures-of-our-success/participation-performance-measures/gap-in-degree-outcomes-1sts-or-21s-between-white-students-and-black-students/
Schucan Bird, K. and Pitman, L. (2020) How diverse is your reading list? Exploring issues of representation and decolonisation in the UK. Higher Education volume 79, pages903–920. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-019-00446-9
Thomas, Dave S.P., and Suhraiya Jivraj, eds. Towards Decolonising the University: A Kaleidosope for Empowered Action. (Oxford: Counterpress, 2020).
Universities UK and National Union of Students (2019) Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Student Attainment and UK Universities #Closingthegap. Retrieved from https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/bame-student-attainment-uk-universities-closing-the-gap.aspx
Initiatives and resources in other higher education institutions:
Anglia Ruskin University – Podcast interview of VC by BAME ambassadors on ‘the role of higher education in fighting racism
Cambridge University Decolonising critical librarianship blog
De Montfort University decolonising reading list (curated newspaper and journal articles)
LSE: Blog entitled Decolonise LSE collective
SOAS: Blog entitled Decolonise SOAS
UAL: Interrogating spaces podcasts on belonging in Higher Education
University of Essex: blogpost series on decolonizing curriculum
University of Nottingham: open access EDI resource bank that includes reports, best practice and other useful documents for work in this area.
University of Sussex: Decolonising and Diversifying Librarianship and HE reading lists
Useful networks, blogs and mailing lists to follow:
Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications – C4DISC
JISC mail list on decolonising libraries – LISdecolonise
JISC mail list Higher Education Race Action Group – HERAG
WONKHE on diversity in HE