Why is our teaching still mostly white and Western?

'We want to understand these barriers'…

We have recently outlined the need for psychology to become less white and less Western (Letters, October 2017). In 2008 Jeffrey Arnett found 99 per cent of the editors of top psychological journals were affiliated with Western universities. In 2010 Henrich and colleagues reported comparable results in the samples of top psychology journal articles. In 2017 we also found that 96 per cent of the authors of the reading we set on our BSc Psychology Hons curriculum were white. We are not teaching a psychology of the global population when we are only looking at the Western and white slice of it.

In order to help change this, we set up a website (www.bmepsychology.com) signposting to anti-racist and BME psychological work. We hoped psychology lecturers especially could use this work to diversify their curriculum.

Since we launched the website in May 2017 it has received 807 unique visitors. Uptake of the work has been slow. We are acutely aware the problem has not been solved, time is marching on and curriculums are being set. Thus we have set up a survey designed to assess the barriers psychology staff face in diversifying their curriculums. We want to understand these barriers so that we can help surmount them.

We would therefore be grateful for anyone teaching in UK higher education to please complete a short, anonymous survey. This project has received full ethical approval from Leeds Beckett University and more information can be found on the link.

Glen Jankowski
Rowan Sandle
Sarah Gillborn
Leeds Beckett University

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