Alison Johns, Advance HE Chief Executive said, “The release of the HESA Higher Education Staff Statistics 2019-20 makes for depressing and worrying reading, particularly in regards to the desperately low proportion of professors in UK higher education institutions who are Black (1%) or Asian (8%).
We urge institutions to accelerate their work to change this position. We recognise that bringing about fundamental change is not a quick fix – it’s too important for that – but we know from experience that the Race Equality Charter (REC) provides a sound starting point to removing structural barriers to advance BAME staff progression, in the same way that Athena Swan has in advancing gender equality. Through the REC framework, institutions work to identify institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students so that they can develop initiatives and solutions for action.”
To support institutions in their work, we have launched a major strand of work entitled ‘Tackling structural race inequality in HE’ which will run through our member benefits for 20-21. This looks at understanding structural inequality; talking about race with confidence and honesty; decolonising identity – which will focus on how people of colour identify in different spaces; and supporting senior leaders in conversation, change and accountability in addressing race. This work complements existing staff development programmes which are targeted at the under-representation of BAME leaders in UK higher education institutions, and initiatives to address governance effectiveness and diversity.
In Scotland, as part of Tackling Racism on Campus funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), a new joint research project by Advance HE and the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland (QAAS) capitalises on the sector-wide commitment to tackle racism in Scottish further and higher education. The Anti-Racist Curriculum (ARC) project will see Advance HE and QAAS working together with the tertiary sector to identify and curate existing resources, learn from current practice and recognise best practice both in Scotland and beyond.