Universiteit Leiden

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Comenius grant for more diverse ancient history: 'Especially in the first year of the bachelor, the impact of a project is great'

The History programme has been working for several years to make the curriculum more diverse and inclusive. With a Comenius grant, university lecturer Kim Beerden wants to take the next step.

'In history, a lot of colleagues are working on diversity,' says Kim Beerden. 'We just often notice that there is a gap between what educationalists do and what happens in practice. This sometimes makes it difficult to connect with educational theories, no matter how good they are.'

'Greatest impact'

A Comenius grant should provide a solution to this problem. Having previously launched a project to look at the frameworks of the course through a more inclusive lens and a JEDI project diversified the syllabus for the first-year subject Ancient History, the aim is now to take the next step. The focus will again be on Ancient History. 'That subject is taken by an awful lot of first-year students,' Beerden explains of the choice for the same subject. 'If you can immediately introduce them to a more diverse ancient history, you will have the greatest impact.'

Test case for theory

In addition, the syllabus serves as a test case for educational theory. 'We want to use this to identify which educational theory we can and cannot use,' Beerden explains. 'Utrecht has developed the Inclusive Teaching Tool, which translates educational theory into four themes: inclusive study materials, language, accessibility and trigger warnings. We will look at what we encounter in practice in those four areas. Based on that, we want to create a roadmap that colleagues on the shop floor can use to close the gap between theory and practice.

'Those colleagues will be involved in the project from the beginning. 'We will do this jointly in the Ancient History section, because it is a joint syllabus,' Beerden explains.' The assignments will be rewritten by student assistants, but then we will work as a team. It's very nice to notice that there is so much support.'


The Comenius grants are awarded by the National Educational Research Organisation (NRO).They are designed to contribute to the renewal and improvement of secondary and higher education in the Netherlands. This directly benefits students and gives education professionals the opportunity to develop further in their careers. 

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