Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health
In order to create a safe and inclusive learning environment within the MSc module 'Gender, Sexuality and Global Health', teaching staff at the Institute of Population Health Sciences introduced a number of measures.
The module's conveners were mindful of the need to facilitate a learning environment which enabled students to feel engaged and confident taking part in disciplinary discourse.This was achieved through the content of the module – such as the choice of reading material and guest speakers – as well as the teaching methods used and the ways that students were encouraged to engage with the course material and each other.
Hearing from academics who are women of colour was important! As a woman of colour, I felt so represented and seeing our voices uplifted in this manner, it meant a lot to me as an aspiring academic.— Module participant
At the start of the module, everyone introduced themselves and their pronouns. This helped to encourage a respectful environment where people's preferred pronouns would be known and used by others. The class established ground rules for engagement throughout the term and the course lead shared their expectations around student engagement, including areas of zero tolerance.
Students were exposed to racially minoritised guest speakers and diverse topics, theories and schools of thoughts – for example, feminist presentations, Black feminism, and Womanism. The course lead developed a reading and media list that represented various groups, geographies and points of view on class topics.
Students had the opportunity to become active participants in the module, and to produce and share knowledge. This occurred in five main ways:
I have learned so much from everyone and they were so accommodating to everyone's views and perspectives. Usually, I feel less inclined to discuss sensitive topics such as racism but this class was a safe space to discuss these topics.— Module participant
Lecturer in Global Public Health