Let us make our future now: Malala Yousafzai
24th October 2018
Last week a student pointed out to me that, we are almost at the first anniversary of our blog. I hadn’t noticed at all! However, now that I have, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has read our posts over the last twelve months. I really couldn’t have started, let alone celebrated an anniversary, without the support and patience of my previous intern. Her encouragement, and checking of early posts, has served me well.
Given our anniversary, and the conclusion of our Challenge for Change project, I thought I would highlight some of the tangible impacts of the project.
Overall, the project has been a success; but we haven’t achieved all of the goals we set.
Our aim was:
“To increase and stabilise the number of UK domicile black and ethnic minority (BME) students choosing, and enrolling, on undergraduate courses in the School of Media and the School of Education at the University of Gloucestershire.
By the end of the academic year 2019-20, our aspiration was to increase the proportion of UK domicile BME students enrolled on courses in the School of Media to 10% and the School of Education to 5.5%.
In the longer term we aimed to sustain our UK domicile BME student numbers, reducing the volatility in student recruitment, achieving our vision of being “an inclusive, student-centred academic community”.
An analysis of 2018/19 student entrants reveals a slight reduction in overall student numbers for both schools. However, both schools have seen an increase in the number of BME students, exceeding the 2019/20 targets: School of Media is 11.5% and School of Education 5.9%. A review of three year’s data shows though that there is more work to do to stabilise our numbers.
We also set ourselves a goal of putting on an event in collaboration with universities in the West Midlands. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to deliver this.
However, we started a conversation with our black and ethnic minority students via focus groups, to listen to them, to understand their experiences of life here. This was challenging for us; they shared things that were difficult to hear. As a result, both the University and Student Union have started to make some changes. The SU have also continued the conversations with the students and encouraged more to join in. I can’t help wondering if there is some link between this work, and their action to celebrate Black History Month for the first time.
The School of Media and Your Future Plan Team increased the diversity of their guest speakers. Guests for Your Future Plan Team included Bianca Miller and Ade Adepitan, both of whom “went down a storm”. Positive role models who attended the 2018 Media Festival included Udi Shapira, Maria Aslam and Matthew Morgan. Both are building on this for future events. The Equality internet page has seen an increase in “hits” and the time spent on the page. We also set up both a blog and a Twitter account to expand the promotion of activities and events.
The School of Media trialled assessment “unpacking” following the “What Works” model employed at the University of Wolverhampton. The impact of this is being evaluated. Hopefully, we can get a guest to share the outcome in a future blog. Your Future Plan team are currently analysing take up of BME students attending 1:1 careers events, logging into the Future Plan Portal and completing Gloucestershire Employability Awards.
Finally, as mentioned last week, we are presenting a paper on our Reciprocal Mentoring at Advance HE’s national EDI conference, “Practice and Progress”.
I hope you agree that, overall, our project has been a success.
You can keep up to date with our work by following us on Twitter @UoGEquality