Imperial College London: Equality and diversity in teaching championed by Excellence Fund

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Three ground-breaking projects are set to receive funding from this year’s Excellence Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation.

The Excellence Fund is used to support education initiatives that challenge students to fulfil their potential. Those receiving funds help to form a community of excellent and innovative teachers who play a key role in promoting good practice and helping the College to deliver a world-class educational experience for all Imperial students. The funding is designed to give staff the time and space to be bold, to take risks, to investigate and to learn.

Online Course in A Level Physics and Chemistry
Project team: Dr Paul Franklyn and Dr Priya Saravanapavan, Department of Materials

First year university students starting their course in October 2022 have missed a large portion of their A-Level teaching due to the restrictions implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in large gaps in their knowledge and understanding of the A-Level syllabus.

With this in mind, an online Physics and Chemistry A level course is being developed, aiming to give all students the same foundational knowledge, support widening participation efforts and offer them life-long learning opportunities.

The Re:Fresher app will fill these gaps and act as a valuable tool for bridging A-Level Chemistry and Physics material with first year university content. PhD students Tabasom Haghighi, Artem Khobnya, Susannah Lea and William Skinner have worked to create a combined specification, design an interactive app and manage a team of 11 undergraduate students developing content for the app.

“The app is near completion and we hope it will be useful for students from multiple departments who are starting their journey at Imperial this October”

Artem Khobnya said: “The undergraduate students have developed creative and engaging content to cover key topics, as well as questions to test understanding. The app is near completion and we hope it will be useful for students from multiple departments who are starting their journey at Imperial this October”.

Embedding equality, diversity and inclusivity in the medical curriculum
Project team: Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya and Trisha Brown, School of Medicine

Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya
Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya
Medical students from minoritized groups have lower academic attainment and higher rates of discontinuation of their studies compared to their non-minoritized peers. These attainment gaps persist following graduation from medical school and are present at all levels of seniority amongst the medical workforce. In addition, health outcomes amongst patients from minoritized groups are markedly worse than those of sex- and age-matched patients, the most recent example being the increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection and death amongst Black and Asian patients.

This project aims to embed equality, diversity and inclusivity in the medical curriculum and foster a culture that understands and embodies the values of diversity and inclusivity within the curriculum and application of knowledge to real-life health-related problems.

“This project aims to improve the learning environment of medical students and prepare them to be doctors who provide a high standard of care to all patients”
Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya and Trisha Brown
Trisha Brown and Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya said: “The award from the fund will support an EDI Education Fellow and Project Co-ordinator, who will undertake key activities as we review and develop robust EDI content within the Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) curriculum and associated assessments, to ensure they are culturally competent and fit-for-purpose for training compassionate and knowledgeable doctors of the future. This project aims to improve the learning environment of medical students and prepare them to be doctors who provide a high standard of care to all patients”.

Building a sense of belonging and a more inclusive culture in the School of Medicine
Project team: Faculty of Medicine BMA Charter Finishing Group and Faculty Education Office Welfare Team

Last year the British Medical Association set up the Racial Harassment Charter for Medical Schools, with the aim of supporting medical schools in addressing and preventing racial harassment. In response to this charter, Imperial set up the charter finishing group, which aims to oversee the implementation of the charter, including providing support to students facing harassment.

This project aims to support students in speaking out in response to any form of harassment, building a sense of belonging by improving communication between staff and students on their experiences of inclusivity and diversity.

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