Decolonizing the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum: An Account of How to Start

Caroline E.H. Dessent*, Ruhee A. Dawood, Leonie C. Jones, Avtar S. Matharu, David K. Smith, Kelechi O. Uleanya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discussions on decolonizing the curriculum are common in Humanities and Social Science Faculties but still rare in the Physical Sciences. In this commentary, we describe the work we have conducted to begin decolonizing and diversifying our undergraduate chemistry curriculum. We also discuss what it means to decolonize chemistry and reflect on why it is an important thing to do. Finally, we discuss a number of different strategic approaches that could be followed to decolonize an undergraduate chemistry curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the members of the Department of Chemistry’s “Decolonizing and Diversifying the Curriculum” Steering Group for their contributions to the project. We also thank Dr. Derek Wann and Professor Duncan Bruce for their strong support of the project, and Jess Penn and Jan Ball-Smith of the University of York’s Inclusive Learning Team for useful discussions. Finally, we acknowledge financial support from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Inclusion and Diversity Fund (ref 147622640) to further our work to decolonize and diversify our department.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.


  • Cultural Relevance
  • Curriculum
  • Inclusive Teaching
  • Minorities in Chemistry
  • Women in Chemistry

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