On 14th December 2022, colleagues across the University of Kent gathered to celebrate Dr Barbara Adewumi and Dr Laura Bailey for their innovative work on Diversity Mark, an institution-wide award given to modules which offer a diverse and inclusive range of resources for their students.
Director of Education Dr Louise Naylor (pictured on left in both photos) presented Dr Barbara Adewumi (on right in photo 1) and Dr Laura Bailey (on right in photo 2) with certificates of achievement at this event, and recognised their status as ‘Diversity Mark pioneers’ launching this ground-breaking programme at the University of Kent.
In 2018, two pilot Diversity Mark projects took place, with Dr Laura Bailey reviewing modules in SECL Language & Linguistics and Dr Barbara Adewumi leading modules in SSPSSR. Student Diversity Mark Officers were employed for the first time to review reading lists in terms of their diversity and in relation to awarding gaps.
Since these initial pilots, the Diversity Mark has established itself in the institution with the ongoing support of the Executive Group to be a guiding row of steppingstones towards decolonising the curriculum. Encouraged by the commitment of the Diversity Mark team, led by Dr Barbara Adewumi, staff interest has grown exponentially, and Diversity Mark is featured in the university’s Inclusive Curriculum module as part of the Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE) for developing inclusive and culturally sensitive curricula.
It has increased engagement of all students and improved belongingness of global majority students by locating alternative readings from the Global South for their assignments and over time aims to reduce the Black/White awarding gap.
Diversity Mark is included in the Kent’s Anti-racism strategy encouraging staff to actively work towards decolonising the curriculum. It was also listed as one of the top five team initiatives during the Kent Staff Recognition awards in 2022.
Externally, Diversity Mark has gained national attention through the TASO (Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education) report (2022) and will be featured on the British Sociological Association (BSA) forthcoming repository of best practice website in 2023.