If you didn't get a chance to fill out our survey, the cross-campus student survey on Decolonising the Curriculum is now live. You can access it at: https://exeter.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/decolonising-the-curriculum-student-survey . Any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In "Decolonising the Curriculum- recent comments prove the importance of students leading the process" Cara Chittenden, SU President Exeter, explains how the recent disheartening comments of Michelle Donelan on Decolonising the Curriculum show that it's important for students to be leading the process, and provides some tangible actions you can take to do this right now.
"The University of Exeter suffers many side effects of a colonised curriculum. Like many UK universities we struggle with a BME attainment gap. We’re not hitting our targets on state school, BAME and international student intake. We have a bad reputation for elitism and racism scandals. Since entering my role as President Exeter I’ve been impressed by the amount of behind-the-scenes work going on to tackle these problems and change the culture of the university, from the Exeter Decolonising Network, to the Success for All strategy being implemented by senior staff, to the work going on within individual departments. However, I haven’t seen a collective effort to decolonise the curriculum across the Cornwall campuses, that draws in student feedback reflecting the lived experience of studying here. Therefore, I wanted to use my privileged position to help push this collective movement, simply starting with a survey of our students. This is intended to serve as an initial touchpoint with Exeter students studying in Cornwall to know what you think about your curriculum and what needs to be done to change it. It’s open to all students to respond to, regardless of ethnicity. Taking the results from this survey I intend to work with the University and individual departments to push for tangible action plans when it comes to decolonising the curriculum, which should include focus groups to gather more in-depth feedback from BAME students, specifically. "
- Cara Chittenden, SU President Exeter
Read Cara's full introduction to the Decolonising the Curriculum Campaign, including rationale and references.
So, what does Decolonising the Curriculum mean?
“Decolonization involves identifying colonial systems, structures and relationships, and working to challenge those systems. It is not “integration” or simply the token inclusion of the intellectual achievements of non-white cultures. Rather, it involves a paradigm shift from a culture of exclusion and denial to the making of space for other political philosophies and knowledge systems. It’s a culture shift to think more widely about why common knowledge is what it is, and in so doing adjusting cultural perceptions and power relations in real and significant ways."(University of Keele, “Keele’s Manifesto for Decolonising the Curriculum”, 2018)
If you’d like to read more about Decolonising the Curriculum, please consider reading the following articles:
We recently surveyed our University of Exeter Cornwall Campus students in order to gather their views.
- 89 students completed the survey, 84% of whom were white
- Nearly 75% of white respondents said that they have benefitted from white privilege and nearly a third said they had never challenged this
- Only 20% of students of colour said they hadn't encountered white privilege. 20% also said they had experienced it on campus
- 41% of students felt their classes were 'extremely dominated' by white voices
- 58% of students agree that UoE and The SU need to take urgent action around decolonisation
- How do we engage underrepresented groups and marginalised voices around decolonising the curriculum?
- How can classrooms be a place of intellectual debate and challenge, whilst also ensuring all students feel included and respected?
- We need to focus on increasing BAME voices in the classroom. How can we create a more flexible teaching and learning model to help address in both the short and long term?
You can click here to download the full overview.
If you would like to be further involved in the Decolonising the Curriculum campaign please email email@example.com