Amplifying marginalised voices in the Computing Curriculum: Investigating the diversity of subject resources using staff and students as change agents to provide an effective and inclusive learning experience (Advert Reference: SF22/EE/CIS/CASSELDEN)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr B Casselden  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Decolonising higher education and enabling marginalised voices to be better heard is vital for ensuring an inclusive and equal learning experience for all students in the UK. The term decolonising has multiple interlinked dimensions, related to structural inequalities affecting those who teach, those who access higher education, and the curriculum studied, and demands a culture shift in what we perceive to be common subject knowledge. Decolonising in this context covers more than just racial inequality, and includes other marginalised groups such as women, working classes, ethnic minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Such a lack of representation results in feelings of isolation and disconnect for both staff and students, resulting in low attainment and high levels of alienation for those groups that suffer from marginalisation. Although STEM subject curricula might be perceived as objective and based on facts, it persists in reinforcing stereotypes and structural inequalities, and it is therefore vital to examine the ways in which marginalisation occurs, to identify solutions and strategies for better representation.

This research project builds on the recent work of Casselden, Stockdale and Sweeney (2021) and seeks to investigate the diversity and inclusivity of computing curricula using Northumbria University as a case study. The research will adopt a mixed methods approach, analysing the current composition of reading lists and seeking student and staff perspectives on the diversity of their curricula using focus groups and interviews. This will enable co-creation of teaching and learning content, and development of associated resources to support decolonising efforts. Collaborative working with the University Library and Faculty will establish clear frameworks for decolonising curricula and provide models for mapping applicable to the wider UK higher education environment.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Biddy Casselden ([Email Address Removed])

Eligibility and How to Apply: 

Please note eligibility requirement:  

·                    Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement. 

·                    Appropriate IELTS score, if required. 

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see  

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF22/…) will not be considered. 

Start Date: 1 October 2022 

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Computer Science (8) Information Services (20)

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Stockdale, K., Casselden, B. and Sweeny, R. (2021) ‘Diversifying the curriculum: Understanding students’ approaches to reading lists and developing student curator roles.’ Educational Developments, 22 (3). pp. 12-15.
Casselden, B., Stockdale, K. and Sweeney, R. (2021) ‘Using student focus groups and curators to diversify reading lists at Northumbria University’. In: CALC2021: Critical Approaches to Libraries Conference 2021, 5-6 May 2021, Virtual.

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