A new Advance HE short observational report, Mindsets, Paths and Identities: the Experiences of Senior Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Leaders in Higher Education is published today.
Report authors Professor Jan Fook and Vijaya Nath have used a series of interviews and focus groups to see what can be learnt from the experiences of BAME staff who have achieved senior leadership positions.
Through seven themes, which act as conversation openers such as, “what’s background got to do with it” or “what to do with prejudice”, the report aims to shed light on how some BAME individuals find their way through British academia, the conditions and situations they encounter, and the mindsets they developed in order to shape opportunities. The authors also highlight areas where higher education institutions can innovate to create more conducive conditions for BAME leadership.
Though the report focuses on successful paths to leadership, frustration that much more could be achieved is clearly evident. In Theme 1, for example, “there’s still a long way to go”, interviewees explored ‘likeness’ in HEI leadership with the predominance of white - largely male - leadership teams leaving BAME leaders feeling potentially isolated and excluded.
The report authors highlight a number of areas for HEIs to consider in improving pathways to senior leadership positions for BAME staff, including:
- Establishing networks as action groups to target particular initiatives relating to BAME progression.
- Offer reverse mentoring schemes to enable senior leaders from the monoculture to be paired with BAME leaders, offering a different perspective.
- Formal development of BAME staff as part of the HEI talent management strategy.
- To further develop cultures which better represent and foreground equality, diversity and inclusion.
Gary Loke, Advance HE Director of Knowledge Innovation and Delivery, said:
This report provides really good insights from BAME staff who have achieved senior positions, revealing their tenacity and bravery, but at the same time highlighting the ongoing frustration and struggle which continues to hold back BAME progression and representation. I am sure these insights will help HEIs in their initiatives to address these very important issues.”