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BAME Student Success Working Group including our BAME Student Advocates

As the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Student Success Working Group we aim to address the awarding gap and advance race equity at the university. Crucial to the group are our BAME Student Advocates who work with academic schools and professional departments to voice issues affecting BAME students and challenge structural inequalities and assumptions.
University of Hertfordshire

The BAME Student Success Working Group (BAMESSWG) work's with colleagues across the university to address the institution’s awarding gap and advance race equity. The group, chaired by Helen Barefoot, from the Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre (LTIC) includes the Director of Learning and Teaching, Karen Barton, members from the eight academic schools including Shivani Sharma (Academic from Life and Medical Sciences) and Sara de Sousa (Student Success Lead from the Business School), as well as colleagues from professional departments such as Anna Levett from Careers and Employment. Crucial to the group are the BAME Student Advocates: Naseem Adeniran, Ruhma Ali Taj, Danecia Barrett, Jessica Byron, Panashe Chisasa, Yohannes Daniel, Mahima Khan, Tejal Mistry, Faris Osman, Imana Prosper, Rida Shafqat, Sana Shah, Ife Shoko and Tiana Small who each link with an academic school or professional department.

The Advocates, line managed by Student Success Officer Shanara Hibbert, carry out different activities depending on the needs of their link department including holding focus groups with BAME students, enabling concerns to be voiced; facilitating conversations with staff members to address issues, challenging structural inequalities and assumptions; working with staff to critique their curricula or website/materials and identifying suggestions for inclusivity improvements.

Within the group Judy St John (Business School), Catherine Rendell (Centre for Academic Quality Assurance), Peter D’Sena (Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre) and Amanda Yip (Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre) each lead sub-groups (Student Support, Academic Integrity, Decolonising the Curriculum and Evaluation) enabling the development of resources (the Inclusive Curriculum checklist, decolonising the curriculum materials, module level attainment dashboard). The collaborative work of the BAMESSWG is highly valued and have seen a culture change to improve race equity across the whole university. This is evidenced by recent data which shows parity in application to offer ratios for White and BAME students achieved, drop-out rates for BAME students is lower than for White students and the awarding gap has reduced by 5 percentage points. A wonderful consequence of this partnership work has been the wider impact of BAME Student Advocates upon graduation. They have taken on their role as passionate and authentic advocates into wider society as experienced and empowered change-makers.