Our Race Equality Action Plan
For the past three years staff and students from across the University have been working to develop the University’s new Race Equality Action Plan. Based on feedback from staff and students, as well as analysing data about the differences in outcomes for staff and students of different ethnicities, the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team has produced 80 actions to enhance Race Equality here at the University of Wolverhampton.
You can read the Race Equality Action Plan. It is a combination of actions to improve the staff and student experience here at the University of Wolverhampton. Its actions covers the breadth of life here at the University of Wolverhampton, including actions to:
- Recruit a more diverse staff body that better reflects the student population
- Proactively support Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic staff to apply for promotion
- Improved system for handling complaints about racist discrimination or harassment
- Enhanced Equality and Diversity Training for Staff and Students
- More campaigns and events to celebrate BAME Excellence and Cultural Diversity
- Reformed Governance and Representation Structures to give Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people a greater voice within the University
- Close the BAME Attainment/Awarding Gap
- Decolonize and Diversify the Curriculum.
We have submitted the Race Equality Action Plan to AdvanceHE as part of our application for a Race Equality Charter Bronze Award. We will hear whether that application was successful shortly, but we are not waiting for that to start achieving change. We are currently forming a new Race Equality Action Plan Delivery Group to begin the work of implementing our actions.
Why Have We Developed A Race Equality Action Plan Now?
The University has been working towards a submission to the Race Equality Charter since the summer of 2017. We believe tha applying for the Race Equality Charter is a unique chance to further build on our work to embed Race Equality within the University. The Race Equality Charter is a sector quality-mark designed by AdvanceHE to promote best practice in race relations. It has provided a structure for the University to investigate where racial inequalities exist within the institution, by requiring the University collate and analyse information about how ethnicity effects the recruitment, satisfaction and success of our staff and students.
It has also provided an intellectual framework that guides our approach to enhancing Race Equality, through its five key principles:
- Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in every situations, processes and behaviours.
- UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
- In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
- Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
- All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.
The Vice-Chancellor accepted these principles when we became members of the Race Equality Charter, and they have guided the approach of the staff and students who have produced the Race Equality Action Plan.
Why did the University apply for a Bronze Award?
The University of Wolverhampton applied for a Race Equality Charter Bronze Award becase we believe the charter mark provides a structure to drive change within the University. Both in terms of the guidance in shaping the Action Plan but also the ongoing support we receive from AdvanceHE including networking with Race Equality practitioners in other universities, advice on best practice and access to training. If our submission is successful, it only means that we have correctly identified and explained the actions we must take to enhance Race Equality within the University. It does not mean that we believe we have solved all the problems. And we will only retain the Award if we successfully implement the promised actions, and achieve the necessary change.
For more information on the Race Equality Charter, or to let us know what more the University can do to improve Race Equality on campus, please email Sukhvinder Singh, the University's Race Equality Lead.