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Inclusivity in STEM: a new collaborative project

Thursday, April 6, 2017 9:28
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(Before It's News)

A post from George Jameson, GSL External Relations Officer, whose role includes working to deliver the Society’s strategic commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) recently announced that it has awarded funding of £480,000 to a collaborative project between the Open University, the University of Leeds and Plymouth University. The Open University will be taking the lead on the project titled ‘Embedding and sustaining inclusive STEM practices’.

The project, which began on 1 March 2017, will run to 28 February 2019 focusing on disability as a key factor affecting the outcomes of STEM students across Higher Education (HE), particularly in relation to academic performance and professional employment.

The funding is part of a £7.5 million HEFCE programme aiming to support collaborative projects that will develop approaches to addressing differential student outcomes. It is funded through the Catalyst Fund.

‘Embedding and sustaining inclusive STEM practices’ aims to share and promote inclusive educational practices in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines across universities in the UK.

This collaborative team will foster systematic and strategic approaches to addressing differential student outcomes by focusing on key changes required in module design, curriculum design and student support services to empower students with disabilities (including students with mental health issues and specific learning difficulties) to succeed in UK third level institutions.

The project will focus on enabling UK Higher Education Institutes to:

  • Embed inclusive resources, module and curriculum design practices.
  • Sustain inclusive module and curriculum deliver practices.
  • Develop inclusive career pathways for students and graduates.

Image courtesy of the International Association for Geoscience Diversity

Through engaging with successful and complementary institutional developments in fieldwork, labwork and online learning, the project will work in partnership with staff and students to further embed the values and practices of inclusive education.

The team will gather and share case studies on STEM-specific pedagogies that evidence the impact of inclusive design, and produce cross-institutional recommendations and principles, in consultation with the wider HE sector and professional associations.

The project is particularly timely for the Higher Education (HE) sector, as financial support previously available to help students with disabilities to overcome specific barriers (e.g. dedicated assistance to participate in field and lab activities) has now been significantly reduced following changes to the Disabled Students Allowance.

For further information on the project please contact Dr Trevor Collins [email protected]


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