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Trinity College Dublin Inclusive Curriculum Project – Trinity-INC

view of front square during freshers fair from regent house

A wordcloud made from the description of the Trinity-INC project



Commenced in October 2020, the mandate of Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Trinity-INC) Project is to embed principles of diversity, equality and inclusion across all curricula at Trinity College Dublin.

"We need to listen, we need to think, and we need to act" - Provost Patrick Prendergast, Trinity Town Hall Meeting on Race and Ethnicity, 20th November 2020

Background

Trinity’s student population is increasingly diverse, with growing numbers from different socio-economic, ethnic, cultural and learning backgrounds, as well as students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, and mature students. To celebrate this diversity and continue to strengthen Trinity as a place of belonging for all students, we must ensure our curricula reflect the values of equality, diversity and inclusion. An inclusive curriculum supports Trinity’s commitment to academic freedom alongside its commitment to quality of teaching and research.

An inclusive curriculum is one in which all students, regardless of background, personal circumstances, or learning abilities or strategies, have an equal and equitable opportunity to engage fully in their studies and achieve their learning goals. Curriculum design, often unwittingly, can exclude certain students in relation to class (Quinn, 2006), gender (Quinn, 2006; Francis, 2006), sexuality (Toynton, 2007), ethnicity and disability (Fuller et al., 2008, 2009). Such exclusions can occur, for example, through the lack of diversity reflected in reading materials, inaccessible teaching or assessment approaches, or lack of consideration given to individual circumstances, including unequal access to IT and the internet, caring or other responsibilities. These aspects should be considered when preparing courses, modules and online materials and should be reflected in learning outcomes.

Research documents that exclusionary practices prevalent in universities damage student attainment and retention and negatively impact on student experience. There is no 'average' student: students are not one-dimensional but vary on many dimensions of learning, cultural and living circumstances. Inclusive learning environments nurture individual potential and support Trinity as a place of excellence for learning.

Understanding Diversity: Table outlining four broad types of diversity - educational, personal, home-life and cultural
Educational diversity Personal diversity Home-life diversity Cultural diversity
level of entry age employment ethnicity, incl. Travelling Community
qualifications disability family & relationships nationality/ country of origin
theoretical knowledge gender caring responsibilities religion
practical knowledge sexual orientation travel to/from home values
life experience identity financial background language
work experience beliefs marital status social background
  maturity access to IT & internet  
  socio-economic circumstances homelessness  

Trinity-INC Goals

The project goals are to:
  • Create an accessible curriculum that supports the engagement, representation and action of all students, including those from diverse worldviews, cultures, and identities, and with different learning styles and abilities
  • Embed the principles of inclusion in all aspects of the academic cycle, across all courses, modules and programmes at Trinity College Dublin
  • Establish Trinity College Dublin as a community of belonging and respect for diversity, where all our students feel supported in achieving their learning goals
  • Equip students with the qualities, skills and behaviours encompassed by the Trinity Graduate attributes

Fit with College Strategy

  • The Trinity Inclusive Curriculum project closely aligns with the Trinity Strategic Plan 2020-2025, critically, Goal 1: We will foster an ever more diverse and inclusive student community, and Goal 8: We will be one Trinity community. Strategy 2020-2025 states that by 2025 underrepresented groups should be 25% of our population (1.5), that 30-35% students will come from outside Ireland (1.1), that we will empower students with disabilities (1.9), that equality, diversity and inclusion will be a cornerstone of our ethos and practice (8.2), and we will grow student numbers (9.3). The Trinity-INC project supports the cross-cutting goals of fostering an ever more diverse and inclusive student community, supporting a transformative student experience, practicing next-generation teaching and learning.
  • The Trinity-INC project promotes the qualities, skills and behaviours which are encompassed by the four Trinity Graduate Attributes: to think independently; to communicate effectively; to develop continuously; and to act responsibly. These attributes will be fostered both through the embedding of inclusivity principles into all curricula, and through the Trinity-INC Student Partner Initiative.

Meet the Trinity-INC Team


Trinity-INC Activities

To achieve the goals of the project, project activities are focused around four (equal) pillars of initiatives: Academic, Student, Institutional and Infrastructural

Academic Pillar

  • The Academic pillar focuses on stimulating interest, debate, and engagement at School-level.
  • Action: To appoint at least one academic teaching staff member from each of the 24 Schools across College to act as Inclusive Curriculum School Champions to raise awareness and stimulate open debate and discussion among colleagues at the School-level.
  • Progress: The pilot of the programme was commenced in February 2021 with the recruitment of the initial cohort of School Champions. Between April and July 2021, the School Champions, together with colleagues from Trinity Access Programme, took part in the pilot Trinity-INC Micro-Credential in Inclusive Practices for Teaching and Learning, developed in consultation with Dr Jonathan Johnston and Trinity Academic Practice. Feedback from the pilot will be integrated into the next roll-out during the course of the 2021-2022 Academic year. The School Champions also received training in Blackboard Ally in partnership with the Trinity Disability Service. The School Champion Programme will be reviewed during the course of Summer 2021, in partnership with the piloting School Champsions, their Heads of School, and through consultation more broadly across College.
  • Are you a Trinity academic interested in becoming a School Champion for your School? We will be recruiting more School Champions to commence in September 2021 - contact us on trinityinc@tcd.ie for more information.

Student Pillar

  • The Student pillar seeks to raise awareness of experiences of inclusion challenges and successes among Trinity’s diverse student body.
  • Action: To establish the Student Partner Programme as a student-as-partner initiative involving students of different communities and groups who may experience exclusion or marginalisation in College. The Student Partner Programme aims to work with students to raise awareness of experiences of inclusion and exclusion within curricula, and for these insights to support the inclusive curriculum training for academic staff and the direction of the overall project activities.
  • Progress: After a consultation phase, the Summer Student Partner Programme was developed and is currently underway (June-August 2021). The Summer Student Partner Programme involves a series of workshops with 20 students representing diverse and underrepresented groups across Trinity, with the aim of gathering insights into their experience of the Trinity teaching and learning environment, and informing and shaping the Student Partner Programme which will be rolled out in September 2021. Output from the Summer Student Partner Programme will be showcased at an event in September 2021.
  • Are you a Trinity student interested in becoming a Student Partner? Contact us on trinityinc@tcd.ie for more information.

Institutional Pillar

  • The Institutional pillar involves securing buy-in and promotion on the part of Trinity’s leaders.
  • Action: To drive for inclusivity to be embedded in policies and discourse related to curricula development.
  • Progress: The addition of inclusivity-related questions on all new PG module proposals is currently under consideration.

Infrastructure Pillar

  • The Infrastructure or ‘wraparound' pillar seeks to bring together key actors and services across College critical to the successful implementation of curricula and student learning, to promote the principles of inclusivity. This is achieved through close cooperation and communication, including through the Trinity-INC Advisory Board (see below).

Trinity-INC Advisory Board

The Trinity-INC Advisory Board involves 30+ Trinity staff and students, representing four project pillars, plus key external individuals with expertise in curriculum design and inclusive curriculum. The role of the Abvisory Board is to guide the implementation of the Trinity-INC project through providing expert advice and input on the project strategy, work streams and activities.


Inclusivity Tips and Resources

Useful Webinars

Students' Perspectives

Other key Trinity links

Get in touch!

For further information contact trinityinc@tcd.ie, or check us out on Twitter @TCDInclusion or Instagram @trinityinclusivecurriculum