Our recommendations: Conversations about race and culture
Open, meaningful and constructive conversations about race, racism and ethnicity are a vital part of tackling the ethnicity degree-awarding gap and wider racial inequality.
Universities should support staff to develop skills and knowledge to have conversations about racial inequality with all students and to learn from students’ lived experiences.
Enabling these conversations can help universities go further in co-producing approaches to removing ethnicity awarding gaps with students.
For example, universities could:
- ensure students have a seat on relevant committees tasked with removing awarding gaps and racial inequities, and that their contributions are valued
- create paid ambassador schemes for BAME students
- encourage allyship from white students through ongoing training and development opportunities
What’s changed since 2019?
Universities have responded to our 2019 call for more opportunities for students to have conversations about race, racism and ethnicity awarding gaps.
But creating these spaces alone isn’t enough. Conversations about race and racism can be frustrating and emotionally demanding for BAME students if they don’t feel listened to or can’t see conversations leading to positive change.
Universities need to facilitate discussions about race, racism and ethnicity awarding gaps thoughtfully and appropriately.
What did university staff say?
- 100% of those who responded to our survey said their university provides opportunities, often both university- and student-led, for open, honest and safe conversations about race between students.
- 95% said they have opportunities for open and honest conversations about race between staff and students.
- The most common ways of gathering insights from students about these opportunities for conversations were through:
- focus groups, interviews and surveys (84%)
- student union involvement (81%)
- co-producing initiatives with students (77%)