I would like to use this medium to say it has been an absolute pleasure to serve students as VP Education at the Students Union at UWE for two terms! The past two years have taken me on an incredible journey and I appreciate the contribution and support of all staff and student. One of my proudest achievement include;
Addressing the Attainment Gap
Continuing on from my involvement in co-creating the inclusive and practice toolkit focused on supporting all staff to take practical steps to create a university with no barriers to learning through their teaching practice at UWE, In my second year in office, a key initiative I have focused on involved addressing the awarding gap. I have achieved this by leading and facilitating various events focused on educating students on the issues to leading and initiating campaigns focused on decolonising UWE curriculum and library shelves
These initiatives included;
Decolonising my reading list: I initiated this campaign with the main aim of ensuring that the library collection and reading lists speak to all voices, particularly those that are traditionally underrepresented in curricula and on reading lists. This involved collaboratively working with students, teaching staff and the library team to decolonise the UWE reading list by challenging the longstanding bias which limits how we understand learning, politics, society and the world around us.
When the reading lists offered to our students are white male-dominated, this exposes our students to a skewed perspective on who is an intellectual authority and who deserves attention. This campaign creates an avenue where all students can see themselves reflected in the curriculum they are being taught and to be able to identify with sector leaders regardless of their background and from all backgrounds.
From this campaign, we had over 50 plus books that have been nominated some of which have been added to reading lists or the library shelves. The most requested book is Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala. I also gave out £25 Estsey vouchers to students monthly, winners included;
The UWE Zine: In partnership with the library team at UWE Bristol, this academic year we ran a UWE Zine competition which gives students a platform to share their personal experiences and thoughts on decolonisation and diversity.
The winners from UWE first ever Zine competition include;
- First prize (£500): Ayomide Erinle
- Second and third prizes (£250 each): Déborah Do Vale Cardoso Lima Ribas and Marnie Caulson
In March 2021, I had the opportunity of presenting my initiative on “Decolonising my reading list campaign” at the just concluded Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) conference. Various stakeholders at the conference highlighted that the project was innovative, insightful, inclusive and most importantly students were at the heart of the campaign.
I would like to medium to say a huge THANK YOU to all the members of the Library Decolonising the Curriculum team at UWE for their encouragement and support this year.