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Addressing educational inequities through co-production of inclusive learning

Educational inequities based on race and ethnicity exist in the fields of Occupational Therapy and Psychology. While these inequities are well-documented, very little is known about efforts to address them and the extent of success of such interventions.

This participatory action research project seeks to evaluate the impact of efforts to address race-based educational inequities in Brunel University London's Occupational Therapy and Psychology Divisions.

The Occupational Therapy Division’s focus was primarily directed towards facilitating an inclusive learning environment across the board for racially minoritized learners, whereas the Psychology Division specifically targeted the race-ethnicity awarding gap at undergraduate levels.

The Occupational Therapy Division set up a Racial and Cultural Equity Working Group which attempted to harness epistemic diversity alongside anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogy and curricula. Within the academic curriculum, reforms focused on the diversification of learning materials and educator demographics. Additionally, we also embedded anti-racist and anti-oppressive elements into divisional processes such as admissions, Welcome Week, and placements. Collectively, these reforms aimed to allow racism and other forms of oppression to be explicitly named and addressed. We started to implement these interventions in phases since the 2020 academic year and efforts to ensure they are more deeply embedded throughout our curriculum are still ongoing.

In the Psychology Division, an internal Awarding Gap committee was set up to quantify the Awarding gap and propose implementations to eliminate it. An analysis of ten years of data confirmed that there is a persistent awarding gap within Psychology for racially minoritized students across all modules. The Awarding gap committee worked together with the undergraduate programme lead and staff members to implement interventions to address the awarding gap across all undergraduate levels and transversing several domains. These include assessment, teaching delivery, as well as digital support.

Through this research project, we aim to identify good practices that should be continued or enhanced, as well as areas for improvement.

Our findings can help to generate insights contributing towards reducing the race-ethnicity awarding gap in degree classifications. They can be useful for educators and academic administrative leaders in the health and care professions who are actively attempting to take an anti-racist, anti-oppressive approach to learning and teaching.

The following student researchers were also involved in this project:

  • Modolamu Fatimehin
  • Sydney Lai Mu-En
  • Gopika Sudhir
  • Cherif Larbaoui
Co-producing Critical Colour-Conscious Learning Experiences in Occupational Therapy
Co-producing Critical Colour-Conscious Learning Experiences in Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy Students Challenges of Prejudice and Discrimination on Placement
Occupational Therapy Students' Challenges of Prejudice and Discrimination on Placement

The Occupational Therapy involvement in this project has been partially funded by Health Education England (Capital AHP)

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Jou Yin Teoh - My teaching, research and graduate student supervision is focused on digital, collectivist, community-centred approaches to develop and deliver cost-effective, high-value healthcare education and services which are just, equitable, and inclusive for populations with complex diversity. I am a recipient of the 2022 Council of Deans of Health Fellowship and was awarded BUL's highest accolades for exceptional contribution to teaching and student experience in 2020 / 2021: the Ken Darby-Dowman Memorial Prize as well as highest score for the Brunel Union of Students Student-Led Awards. Prior to my current appointment with the Occupational Therapy Division (also known as the London School of Occupational Therapy, est. 1934) at Brunel University London (BUL); I worked at Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College as a Lecturer and Professional Lead of Occupational Therapy - the first woman of minoritized ethnoreligious background to hold this position in the history of Malaysian Higher Education. Pre-academia, I was an occupational therapy entrepreneur with a special interest in social innovation for public health in the Global South; particularly in the integration of digital and community-centred approaches to build and run systems that contribute towards addressing disparities that affect health and well-being. I am an editorial board member for the following peer-reviewed academic journals: the Phillipine Journal of Allied Health Sciences, Neuroscience Research Notes and Sports & Health Research Notes. I am also a Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). My PhD titled The Hidden Curriculum of Occupational Therapy Practice Education is pending completion, funded by BUL and the Elizabeth Casson Trust, and supported by the supervisory committee of Dr Sofia Barbosa Bouças (Division of Psychology), Dr Geeta Ludhra (Dept of Education), Dr Michael Iwama (Duke University, USA), and Dr Terry Roberts (Division of Bioscienes).

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 16/12/2022