At its annual conference in Liverpool in June 2019, HOTCUS announced its intention to launch of an “Inclusive Curriculum Competition” with an award made to the most innovative and inclusive module syllabus submitted by a member of HOTCUS teaching within a non-American university. Members at the conference provided valuable feedback on the draft competition plans.

More information about the background and rationale for the competition can be found here.


The first competition will extend throughout the academic year 2019/20, with a deadline for final submission on 30 September 2020. Submissions should be sent to: [email protected]

Format for submission:

Each submission should take the form of a module handbook or copies of relevant module pages from a Virtual Learning Environment, together with a short 500-word essay summarizing the teaching philosophy underpinning the module and the syllabus’ key features. This essay should also identify any institutional constraints upon curriculum design and how they have been mediated. The submission should not exceed 50 pages in total.


The winner will receive a prize of £100, with the award (and syllabus) advertised on the HOTCUS website, the HOTCUS e-mail list and across the organization’s social media platforms.    

Competition criteria:

The criteria guiding the competition judges are provided below. The judges do not necessarily expect that all curricula submitted to the competition will be innovative in all four criteria fields. These criteria are written in such a way as to serve more broadly as a guide to any colleagues looking to ensure that their modules are inclusive.

  • Module Content

An inclusive curriculum will offer content of value and meaning – and a similar degree of intellectual challenge – to all potential students regardless of their social and cultural background. It will reflect a sensitivity to the work of power both within American history and upon the ways in which the topics and themes of the module are studied. Module content should give space to a wide variety of political, social and cultural voices, including those often overlooked – for example, women, ethnic and religious minorities, members of the LGBT community and people with disabilities. Curricula on any topic, at any level of the university curriculum, are eligible for submission. It may be more challenging to create an inclusive curriculum on some topics more than on others: the judges will take the measure of that challenge into account.

  • Sources and reading lists

An inclusive curriculum will introduce students to new and different ways of thinking about history and those who have agency within it. The primary source material and secondary literature assigned to students should allow them to encounter a range of historical experiences and historiographical perspectives. Core reading selections and broader reading lists should seek to expand the canon and, in more than a tokenistic way, demonstrate a commitment to including texts by female, LGBT and minority scholars.

  •  Delivery

An inclusive curriculum should be taught in an inclusive classroom. The delivery practices of the module will show an understanding of power relations within the student body, taking hierarchies based on different educational, social, religious, and ethnic backgrounds seriously. The module will aim to both challenge and empower all students on an equal basis within an ethos of mutual intellectual respect. Expectations will be clearly communicated and consistently reinforced.

  • Assessment

An inclusive curriculum, in its assessment methods, should show sensitivity to the different skills and abilities, and different ambitions and prospective career paths, existing within a diverse student body. Assessment should seek not only to measure academic progress but also to empower students, incorporating elements that may broaden their skill-base, encompass communication and co-operation with non-academic publics, and encourage them to think about the salience of their studies in modern American history to the surrounding social and political present.