University pledge to address BAME student attainment gap


May 2nd, 2019

University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, has joined university Vice-Chancellors and Principals around the country in signing up to a new pledge to address the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) student attainment gap in UK higher education.

The pledge has been created following a report, published today by Universities UK (UUK) and the National Union of Students (NUS), which sets out that UK universities must demonstrate their commitment to university-wide change as they seek to eliminate the attainment gap.

Led by Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS, and Amatey Doku, Vice President for Higher Education at the NUS, UUK and the NUS have been working with universities and students since June 2018 to tackle the disparity between the proportion of ‘top degrees’ (first or a 2:1 degree) achieved by white and BAME students.

The report – Black, Asian and minority ethnic student attainment at UK universities: #ClosingtheGap – follows contributions from 99 universities and student unions and six regional roundtable evidence sessions with 160 attendees on how the attainment gap should be tackled.

Read the report

The pledge sets out ways in which Universities can work with students and use the report’s recommendations. It identifies the following steps for universities to follow:

  1. Providing strong leadership
  2. Having conversations about race and changing cultures
  3. Developing racially diverse and inclusive environments
  4. Getting the evidence and analysing the data on the attainment gap
  5. Understanding what works

Progress made by the sector will be evaluated in 2020.

Speaking about the pledge, Professor Sarah Sharples, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham, said: “I am very pleased that we are joining with other institutions in supporting this important pledge.

“The themes within the pledge are closely aligned with our existing priorities that have been identified as part of our work to address the attainment gap, as well as our wider commitment to our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategic delivery plan and preparation for the Race Equality Charter.

“We are firmly committed to ensuring that the University of Nottingham is diverse and inclusive, and welcome the focus on leadership, conversations and understanding that are particularly highlighted within this pledge.”

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