The Supporting the Identity Development of Underrepresented Students (SIDUS) project is funded by the Excellence Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation, aimed at promoting inclusion and supporting success for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) students from underrepresented groups at the university. It is also aligned with the College’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Learning and Teaching Strategy that have foregrounded the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive academic community for all, especially amongst underrepresented groups. Building on our earlier identity work on the educational strategies of high-achieving non-traditional university students in post-1992 universities, we will explore the lived experiences of STEMM students from underrepresented groups (e.g. BAME, first-generation, mature, LGBTQ, disabled students, etc.) within an Imperial context. We also intend to work with underrepresented students and the Digital Learning Hub to co-develop inspiring videos of personal stories and other relevant resources for staff and students to enhance an inclusive and supportive learning environment that maximises the participation, strengths and potential of the current and prospective underrepresented STEMM students. By understanding how these groups of students navigate their way through university life contributes to our knowledge of their successes, challenges and opportunities, allowing for better support of academic and professional identity and a sense of belonging which are central to the wellbeing of our students.

The resources developed from the project are expected to be applicable across departments and faculties, given the breadth of learning trajectories of the STEMM underrepresented students we aim to gather across the College. Student active engagement in the creation of the videos and other resources will enhance the relevance and usefulness to the Imperial learning and teaching context, adding value to the support of student success and inclusion. The features of authenticity of these resources strive to empower and inspire underrepresented students to cultivate a sense of belonging to the academic community as well as their academic identity of being a student at Imperial, which can contribute to their level of learning engagement and success.

The SIDUS project team includes: Dr Tiffany Chiu (PI), Dr Jo Horsburgh, Professor Martyn Kingsbury, Dr Órla Murray (all Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship) and Dr Billy Wong (University of Reading)