Inclusivity at Queen Mary University
In 2016 Helen Kara led a research project for Queen Mary University of London, to assess the inclusivity of their curricula, teaching, and learning. She and her colleague Roxanne Persaud were selected from six short-listed applicants to work with a Task & Finish group of staff and student representatives from across the University.
Helen and Roxanne based their research on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry, an increasingly popular approach to organisational change which focuses on assets rather than deficits. They used creative techniques including life-sized lecturers, empathy maps, screenplay writing and sticker maps in individual and group interviews to elicit students’ views, and carried out a series of telephone interviews with staff. They collaborated on data coding and analysis, and presented their findings and draft recommendations to two ‘review and refine’ meetings for students and staff. In these meetings, further creative techniques were used to gather feedback on the draft recommendations and prioritise future actions. The final report is available online.
The commissioning and management of this research was led by Simon Jarvis, Head of Disability and Dyslexia Service at QMUL. At the end of the project he said,
“I think it’s a splendid piece of work. The issue about where inclusivity should live at the university and the importance of it being placed somewhere central to the university’s strategic direction is very well highlighted by the project – this is probably the most important question for QMUL.”
Simon’s job title later became Head of Disability and Dyslexia Service and Inclusive Practice, just one small example of many changes being made throughout QMUL as part of the University’s commitment to inclusivity.