Student Perspectives: Albin Alvers (GU)

Are there any inclusive practices at your university that you would like to highlight?

I want to highlight a practice at Gothenburg called the ‘supplementary instructor’: this is a study group led by an instructor, and all students get invited to it. What I like is that because everyone is invited, instead of having to seek it out and sign up to it, this makes it so much easier to participate. The consequence is that you get a much broader range of participation, and more diversity in the students who participate, which gives a stronger sense of inclusion as well as helping people with their studies. They’ve trialled this with some courses – I haven’t tried it myself but have heard about it.

Are there aspects of life at university that you think are not inclusive?

In our group session at Gothenburg, we talked about professors and teaching methods. I feel like a lot of the practices they apply aren’t inclusive. We all have different abilities and positions, but there are some teaching methods that don’t work for anyone. For instance, this issue of teachers not giving out notes because they want students to come to the class, so that those who can’t come have a hard time with the course. I feel like this is an easy problem to avoid: the professor just needs to have the intent of creating a more inclusive environment. They forget that we are different, and that there might be good reasons why someone isn’t coming to the class.

What new or improved practices would you like to see?

Something I would like to implement is frequent evaluation groups with students and staff. I think there’s a real lack of evaluation of what’s working and what isn’t, and I feel like not every voice is heard in these discussions. It can be hard for some to make criticisms. With frequent meetings, where everyone is welcome to participate in as many meetings as they want, it might be easier. This can’t be the only solution to enable evaluation: there should always be an anonymous alternative. But it’s important to have a chance to speak to the professors and other students about what’s working and what isn’t. If you have frequent meetings, you can talk about problems at one meeting and then evaluate progress at the next one, to see if anything has changed.