Developing a curriculum for diversity: Raising awareness, increasing understanding and changing practice

Liz Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Policies to widen access to students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds and promote equality to groups who face discrimination, and increased international student recruitment have resulted in a significantly more diverse student body. These changes have been accompanied by rising concerns about the quality of the higher education experience and the retention and success of all students. These developments have led to increased pressures on both academic and professional staff in institutions. 'Inclusive learning’ is an effective professional response to diversity and mass higher education, but requires moving from more traditional approaches to learning and teaching to a curriculum for diversity has significant implications for academic members of staff and to their professional identity. There are increasing pressures on staff to to change their pedagogies, including the introduction of higher tuition fees and the increased powers of the Office for Fair Access. May and Bridger (2010) argue that engaging staff to change their practice to become more inclusive involves three steps: raising awareness, developing an understanding of what it involves and encouraging people to change their practices. This framework is used to structure this chapter, first increasing awareness of student diversity in higher education; second developing understanding about inclusive learning and a curriculum for diversity; and third encouraging academic staff to change their professional practice. The first two sections draw on literature and the third draws on learning from a series of change programmes organised and delivered by or overseen by the Higher Education Academy .
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Life in Modern British Higher Education: The death of 'the don'?
EditorsB Cunningham
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherInstitute of Education
ISBN (Print)9780854739998
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2014


  • academic identity
  • student diversity
  • inclusive practice


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