Arts & Humanities, Dr Mary Farrelly
Ahead of the systematic implementation of the University for All Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education Institutions, the College of Arts and Humanities held an initial self-assessment workshop on December 10th at 11am - 1pm. As a springboard for reflection on attitudes and approaches to embedding inclusion across the College, participants completed a pre-workshop Google Form highlighting key sections of the toolkit for discussion. As well as recording initial ideas and generating data for discussion, the form identified key actions already taking place around the college including seminars on inclusive teaching and learning, the Thinking Creatively Visit Days, and UDL information sessions. The structure of the workshop followed that of the Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education Institutions which focussed the discussion and helped participants identify key areas for future development. Dr Lisa Padden's presentations during the workshop introduced the Toolkit and key data from the University for All Student Inclusion Survey. This provided participants with important contextual information that will inform both individual actions on inclusion and broader approaches to implementing the Toolkit over the coming year. In order to make this information available to as many people as possible, these presentations have been edited into short videos and included in Dr Mary Farrelly’s new Arts and Humanities Online Workbook for Implementing the Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education Institutions.
Following on from this workshop, a very generous group of current students and Access Leaders from the College of Arts and Humanities volunteered their time to share student perspectives on inclusion within the College at a student panel event on the 14th of March. The event offered an opportunity for faculty and staff to ask for feedback and suggestions directly from students who, in their role as Access Leaders, have developed a deep understanding of what works and what remains to be developed in terms of inclusion in teaching, learning, and student supports. The Access Leaders responded to questions drawing from both personal experiences and discussions with fellow students. The discussion highlighted areas of online learning that have been particularly challenging for students as well as suggestions for small adjustments from staff that could mean big improvements in student wellbeing during a particularly challenging exam period. Communications to colleagues regarding the Q and A were made through Jean Keating, Director of the College of Arts and Humanities Office and further promoted by the College's VP for EDI, Dr Joseph Twist and EDI representatives in each school, ensuring that the event was very well attended by staff from all areas. The session offered much food for thought and reminded participants and attendees of the importance of keeping the student voice at the centre of our work.