The Government has launched new measures to attempt to improve outcomes for ethnic minority students in Higher Education. The measures include encouragement for institutions to address race disparities in the workforce using tools such as Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter. The Race Equality Charter (REC) provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. The charter has just exceeded the 50-member mark and there are now 52 universities who have committed to the REC principles.
Attending the policy launch on Friday and responding to the announcement, Alison Johns, Advance HE’s Chief Executive, said, “We welcome the commitment of the Government to drive change in tackling racial inequalities in the higher education sector. Since we launched the Race Equality Charter in 2016, we have seen 10 Bronze award winners and 52 institutions which have committed to the Charter principles; and we look forward to supporting the higher education sector further in its work to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students. I believe the Charter provides institutions with a robust framework to achieve this, as well as highlighting a very positive message of their intent to address racial inequality.
As planned since its inception, in 2019 we will review the Charter In line with our long-term strategy of providing evidence-based support for institutions, and to ensure the charter framework and processes are best-supporting institutions to address racial inequality.
The Charter is complemented by other important initiatives, including our Diversifying Leadership programme for BME staff. The Diversifying Leadership alumni network is very active and influences the current and future programmes, and our longitudinal impact research will inform and shape our work to support BME staff progressing into more senior leadership roles.
This year, we will continue our BME Leadership Summit and through the review of the Charter explore how we can further support institutions in the progression of minority ethnic students and research staff to academic positions, and in addressing issues at faculty and discipline level.”
The BME Leadership Summit brings together the HE sector’s ‘agents of change’ and key decision makers to discuss, debate and share good practice around advancing the race equality agenda within their institution and the sector more generally. The 2019 BME Leadership Summit will focus on leadership to enable progress. Diversifying Leadership is a programme aimed at early career academics and professional services staff from BME backgrounds, up to and below senior lecturer level (or equivalent), who are about to take their first step into applying for a senior role – or who aspire to a leadership role.