Posted Friday 10 March 2017
Kingston University's approach to making its courses as inclusive and accessible as possible has been recognised by the judging panel for this year's Guardian University Awards.
The panel has named the University as a finalist in the awards' teaching excellence category for its inclusive curriculum framework. This framework acts a comprehensive guide for staff to help them reflect the needs of the University's diverse students within all degree programmes.
It incorporates such materials as short animations, research findings and case-studies which the University's Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Nona McDuff said helped demystify the subject of inclusion for staff. "The framework often provides a ‘light bulb' moment for staff prompting them to consider accessibility and inclusion within the content, delivery, assessment, feedback and evaluation of all their courses," she explained. "The ultimate aim is to design our degrees in a way that enables our students to become graduates who make an effective contribution to today's diverse and competitive global economy."
Kingston University's Inclusive Curriculum Framework has also been recognised as part of a 25k project funded by the Higher Education Agency and the University has recently received £500k from the Government's Catalyst Fund to roll it out to five other universities and a further education college. Initiatives that have driven the development of the framework include equality and unconscious bias seminars for staff as well as training for more than 400 students on what influences high exam results.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education Dr Clarissa Wilks said the Guardian University Award nomination was recognition of the work the University had been carrying out to increase the attainment of all its students but especially those who were disadvantaged or the first in their families to enter higher education. "It's testimony to the way in which we've been able to make inclusion part of the everyday work we do to serve our proudly diverse community of staff and students and ensure that they flourish," she added.
Dr Wilks said the panel's support for Kingston University also chimed with voices heard recently in the House of Lords which were challenging plans for the Government's proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) on a number of fronts, including the link with tuition fees. "Some peers are also arguing that TEF measures do not always reflect high-quality teaching and learning," she added. "By shortlisting us for this award the Guardian is commending the type of activity that does represent teaching excellence."
This is the fifth time Kingston University has been recognised by the Guardian University awards. In 2016, it was named runner-up in the national newspaper's student experience category for its student engagement programme. Kingston University was runner-up in both the widening participation and sustainability categories for the 2015 Guardian University Awards and won the Diversity Initiative Award in 2014.
This year's award winners will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 29 March.