Progress has less to do with speed and more to do with direction.
18th April 2018
This week I thought I would give an update on our “Challenge for Change” project. For those unfamiliar with the project, you can catch up on our introductory blog here. If you want to know more about the journey over first 12 months, you can read our case study on the ECU’s website
At the outset, we established a multi- disciplinary team. Current team members are:
Anna Hay, Head of Student Wellbeing
Amy Lilley- Stewart, Partnerships Placement Co-ordinator, School of Education
Alex Harris, BME Community Outreach Officer
Clare Peterson, Equality and Diversity Manager
Sarah White, Marketing and Partnerships Schools and Colleges Manager
Tracy Symonds, Senior Tutor, Senior Lecturer in Film
Adeela Shafi, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies
Natalie Morris, Careers Consultant
Tom Newman, SU Chief Executive Officer
Ellie McCulloch, Business Intelligence Analyst
Anna, Sarah, Alex and Amy are pictured above.
Each member led on particular intervention(s), related to their role. I thought I’d share our progress to date.
One of the first actions, taken by colleagues in Student Services and the Employability Team, was to set up a series of focus groups with our students to hear their thoughts on life at the University. In a predominantly white community, both within and outside the University, they identified a need for more social events reflecting a broader range of cultures. They were keen to see greater diversity within the curriculum and amongst our staff, particularly academic. They also commented on the lack of black and ethnic minority role models, and expressed a need for student support staff to have a greater level of understanding of issues that they faced.
The SU are continuing to work with the students to develop more culturally diverse social events, and our Academic Development Unit is reviewing the content of our Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Practice (PGCAP) in light of their comments about the curriculum. We are actively working to achieve a more diverse workforce, but this will take time. To provide role models in the short term, the Employability Team and School of Media have strengthened the diversity of their guest speakers. Recent guests include Ade Adepitan, Bianca Miller-Cole and Matthew Morgan. Feedback from all students about the diversification of guest speakers has been overwhelmingly positive.
Colleagues from the Outreach and Widening Participation team collaborated with several West Midlands universities to organise an event supporting African Caribbean young people’s journey into higher education. Unfortunately, due to staff changes amongst the partners, we will not been able to deliver this in the current academic year. We are hopeful though that we will be able to hold it in the 2018/19 academic year.
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