Racially inclusive curriculum has positive impact on student experience, University of Leicester study finds

A University of Leicester study has shown how a more racially inclusive curriculum can have a positive impact on the relatability and relevance of course content for students’, and especially for students of colour.

The study was conducted by the University of Leicester Institute for Inclusivity in Higher Education (ULIIHE).

It looked into the impact of the Racially Inclusive Curriculum Toolkit (RICT), which was piloted at Leicester during the 2020/21 academic year.

The RICT intervention was developed by Dr Paul Ian Campbell, ULIIHE Director, to make module content and practice more racially inclusive and relatable for all students.

It was also designed to help University staff to be more aware of how racial inequities can manifest in curriculum content and to provide strategies for how to address them.

The toolkit was piloted across all modules of the University’s undergraduate BA Sociology programme.

A report co-authored by Dr Campbell, illustrates how the introduction of a more racially inclusive curriculum has the potential to improve the experience of teaching at the University for students.

Some of the key findings of the report are as follows:

  1. The RICT had a transformative impact on increasing students of colour and their White peers’ experiences in relation to course content and to their general feelings of belongingness on their course programmes
  2. The RICT had a positive effect on the ‘Overall Student Satisfaction’ scores recorded in Module Evaluation Questionnaires
  3. The RICT had a positive impact as a resource for helping staff to identify and respond to race-based inequalities within their course content  

Dr Paul Ian Campbell said: “This report is a landmark case study for a number of reasons.”

“As far as we know, it is one of the first published, large-scale holistic evaluations of the efficacy of an intervention for making curriculum content more racially inclusive on the experiences of undergraduate students, in a UK university.

“Its findings give us a starting point to better understand what ‘works’ for making education curricula in HE inclusive for all students regardless of their backgrounds – and importantly, in what ways does it work”.

“It also, and for the first time, shows us empirically the positive potential for making curricula more inclusive on the experiences of our students’ sense of belonging and satisfaction.”

Empirically Measuring the Efficacy and Impact of Making Curriculum-content Racially Inclusive in the Educative Experiences of Students of Colour on the UK is a report written by Dr Paul Ian Campbell, Dr Ashjan Ajour, Andrew Dunn, Heena Karavadra, Keith Nockles and Sarah Whittaker.

Read the full report: