Gatekeeping (ILT Diversity Project Blog)
We’re now into December (every year – how does it come around so fast?!) and I know it’s time to provide an update on the project.
However, I’ve been struggling to find the right words for this, as with where we currently are, I’m waiting on confirmation for my fabulous research assistants to be able to join the team. And that got me thinking about gatekeeping. So whilst I’m here, waiting on someone else to give the go-ahead for who I can have as part of my project team, it had me reflecting on the multitude of ways that we (educators) are gatekeepers, and how this in itself will form a key part of the research.
Whilst I’m in no doubt that there will be staff members from across the different faculties in the university who will want to talk about the experiences and barriers they’ve faced in relation to diversity and inclusion (either themselves, or how they embed in within their courses), it’s interesting to take this a step further and think about what kind of things we are acting as gatekeepers on in relation to this.
I appreciate there are benchmarks to adhere to, and/or society specific regulations that feed into our courses. At this higher level, we ought to reflect on the kinds of things that we’re being asked to cover – why are these specific topics important to the curriculum? And if we do want to change anything – the assessments we use for example, the processes we follow for this. These run as specific times of the year, and can impact future presentation of modules. Say we inherit modules from our predecessors, and we are looking for change – we have to follow particular rules and codes and processes before change can be made. It takes time. And this is at a higher level that considering how our reading lists are made up, and the kinds of in-class activities we draw on.
I cannot reflect on the process of gatekeeping without reflecting on the influence of power, and just how much it permeates. I look forward to thinking more critically about how power plays a part on multiple levels in relation to diversity within our institutions.