SHULT18 – Keynotes


Dr. Gurnam Singh

Principal Lecturer in Social Work (Coventry University)
Visiting Professor of Social Work (University of Chester)
Visiting Fellow in Race and Education, University of the Arts, London
National Teaching Fellow


“I describe myself as an academic activist in that what inspires me both in my teaching and research is the desire to transform individuals and society. I always seek to deploy a critical sociological imagination in my work as well as espousing democratic, humanitarian and universal principles. My belief is that committed scholarship has the potential to enable human societies to respond to the challenge of all kinds of inequalities, at the local, national or global level.”

Butterflies, Bees and BME’s: Reimagining the problem of Degree Attainment.’

I have been doing a lot of deep thinking about ‘BME Attainment Gap’ and I am concerned that we may be approaching the problem in the wrong way, namely as a linear problem or puzzle with a cause/effect solution waiting to be uncovered. No doubt there are some general factors that have a bearing on attainment. However, having studied/researched the issues for over 10 years, I have come to the conclusion that we need a radical overhaul about the way we frame the problem, and indeed, the issue of attainment and widening participation in HE more generally. 

As well as offering some background contextual material, using ‘complexity theory’, I would like to offer some thoughts about the possibilities through reframing of the issue in much more dynamic ways than has hitherto been the case.

Please take a look at Gurnam’s keynote presentation


Dr. Sam Grogan

PVC Student Experience (University of Salford)
Director, Teaching Excellence Alliance
Principal Fellowship of the HEA



In brief moments, I sometimes crave for an unattainable simplicity in life. But, through working with colleagues and students across the sector, I am continually reminded that it would be a sad, narrow world in which there was just one way to do things well; a singular path to success; only one road to excellence.

Embracing uncertainty: future-proofing skills, knowledge and capabilities in a paradigm shift

We’re entering; if not already well into, a period of massive and destabilising change, both within the HE sector, such as it is, and across our wider society. Our educational work and practices need to flex, change and adapt to this significant and multi-faceted disruption in order to position ourselves to remain responsive, rather than reactive. Drawing on innovations across the University Alliance this keynote will focus examining a new fit-for-future understanding of ‘technical and professional’ centred around learner acquisition and development of the following key attitudinal capabilities essential for sustained success.

Drawing on innovations across the University Alliance this keynote will focus on a project which is examining a new fit-for-future understanding

Please take a look at Sam’s keynote presentation