Race Equity Activity Library
The degree awarding gap has been a longstanding issue in higher education. The nature of the gap suggests that there is a need for “institutional actors” to develop our understanding of structural and institutional racism in order to make a difference in student outcomes and experience.
The Race Equity Activity Library (REAL) resources are aligned with what the NUS/UUK report (2019) identified were the key components that made a difference in race equity in the university and provide a framework for activities that can support your team to develop your racial literacy.
Click on the following headings to jump to the relevant section.
- Providing Strong Leadership.
- Having conversations about race and changing culture.
- Developing racially diverse and inclusive environments.
- Getting the evidence and analysing the data on the attainment gap.
- Understand what works.
- Building Knowledge
- Past events, resources and reports.
1. Providing strong leadership
University leaders and senior managers need to demonstrate a commitment to removing the BAME attainment gap and lead by example. UUK and NUS have created a checklist for university leaders to draw upon when considering how to address their institution’s attainment gap. degree awarding gap and lead by example.
Here we present our Student Race Equity corporate 5 year action plan (RECAP) (word) which reflects the university’s commitment. You can also access a wide range of resources:
- Sheffield Diverse Voices in Healthcare Conference 2022 ( Nursing and Midwifery Minoritised, Allied Health Professional Minoritised and University of Sheffield BAME Medics Society):
- Equitable Leadership – part of the Positive Thinking programme. Here Sangita Myska meets Baljeet Sandhu MBE, who believes ‘knowledge equity’ and reinventing leadership can make policy-making more progressive.
- Micro-behaviours for an inclusive leader – identifying behaviours which can promote an inclusive culture – May 2020.
- Black History Month: Allyship – A Simple Act of Solidarity – The issues of Race and Class have become sharply into focus during the current crisis.
- Advance HE Tackling Racism on Campus: Race equality and leadership – in this webinar, part of the Tackling Racism on Campus project, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Alison Johns, CEO of Advance HE and Karen Watt CEO of Scottish Funding Council are joined by John Amaechi OBE and Khadija Mohammed to discuss race equality and leadership, specifically how white leaders effectively lead on race and equality.
- Advance HE: Black Lives Matter and the student voice – one year on, what can equality, diversity and inclusion practitioners in UK higher education learn from actions that followed the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020? – June 2021
2.Having conversations about race and changing cultures
Universities and students need to create more opportunities to talk directly about race, racism and the attainment gap and to identify what students think is causing it. A change in culture is needed alongside a clear institutional message that issues of race are embedded within strategic goals.
|Black History Month: Book Recommendations | Microaggressions | The difference between being non and anti-racist | Mentoring Programmes|
|Understand the process of whiteness (white privilege) | Say My Name | Student Perspectives | Media and News|
Black History Month: Your book recommendations.
Want to start a conversation about ‘Microaggressions’? Check out our ‘Micro? Aggressions – recognise, reflect, resist’ hour long interactive online session, seeking to identify and raise awareness of the nature and impact of microaggressions and micro-inequities in their various guises. The session proposes two ‘acts of resistance’ that can frame our responses to actions which foster change.
The difference between being non and anti-racist
Listen to the Council of Deans new CoDHcast, speaking with Dr Claire L Walsh and Ifrah Salih, Academic Development & Diversity (AD&D) talking about the Equity Accomplices Programme and how to move from being simply ‘non-racist’ or an ‘ally’, to something more than that, and preparing and supporting everyone to have difficult conversations about race to improve racial literacy.
Most of us, says Marlon James, writer and winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize are non-racist. While that leaves us with a clear conscience, he argues, it does nothing to help fight injustice in the world. In this short video he explains the difference between being non and anti racist.
We are about to pilot a new mentoring programme that uses Tara Yosso’s work on Community Cultural Wealth Approaches to help racially minoritised students to recognise and learn from the cultural knowledge, skills, abilities and contacts that they have but that often go unrecognised. Please contact the team if you’d like to get involved.
Sheffield Hallam also operates a number of University-wide mentoring schemes:
- The Hallam Career Mentoring Programme is University wide and runs from September to April. The aim of the scheme is to match current students with industry professionals to help students progress into careers to which they hope to progress upon graduation. The mentoring relationship does this by not only building student confidence, but also by building their professional network and experience within the sector they hope to progress within.
- The Female Futures mentoring scheme is a new project which consists of a monthly talk from a female currently working in industry. Each month will have a different theme with a different female from a different industry each month. There will also be skills sessions each month in the Careers Centre, such as; self-confidence, resilience, commercial skills, negotiation skills, managing-up, dealing with conflict and voice projection.
Understand the process of whiteness (white privilege)
A collection of short videos that encourage us to broaden our understanding of difference and discusses the heart and mind gap to develop our understanding of the construction of race in society;
- W is for Whiteness in Higher Education – As controversy builds around the use of the term, Rachel Vandana Stone, Senior Lecturer in education at Hallam University unmasks “white privilege” in higher education – and finds shades of grey – June 2021.
- Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo’s video ‘What it takes to be racially literate’ May 2018;
- Michael Kimmel – TEDWoman 2015 video (the first 3 minutes of this talk are required).
Say My Name
Our very own Ifrah Salih, Senior Lecture, Academic Development & Diversity (ADD) and Jackie A Brewster, Senior Lecturer, College of Health Wellbeing & Life Sciences (HWBL) presented their own session “Understanding the Importance of Each Other’s Names: practical Exercise” at the University of Warwick: Say My Name Symposium on 18th February 2022. Read more about this Say My Name activity.
BAME student ambassadors
The Student Union’s BAME Student Research Ambassador, Zhane Murrell-Smith, has been investigating student perceptions of belonging, inclusion, and diversity at SHU. Her research was completed by 391 students, and pulled up a plethora of student issues, for students in general and more specifically BAME students. Read her research paper into how students perceive their Hallam experience in relation to their background and heritage.
My lecturer inspired me to be a champion for black nurses
Mental health nursing student Irene Ibanda was shortlisted for a national Student Nursing Times award for her work on diversity and inclusion – supporting minoritised students through a group at the University and providing diversity training to managers in her graduate role at Cygnet. Listen to her inspiring journey in tackling racism and discrimination in the healthcare sector.
Living Black at University
- Living Black at University: Research onto the experiences of Black students in UK accommodation – Commissioned by Unite Students.
- Living Black at University – A call to action: this blog was contributed by Jenny Shaw, Higher External Education Engagement Director at Unite Students. So much of student life is shaped by the experience of being in student accommodation. Living in a student community, making new friends, meeting people from different backgrounds, managing day-to-day life independently are all learning experiences in their own right. Moreover, the sense of belonging, support and safety within that community of peers provides a foundation that can increase the ability to study well and thrive at university.
Is my uni racist?
Britain’s universities are some of the most prestigious in the world, but are they safe places for students of colour? Reporter Linda Adey investigates the experiences of black and ethnic minority students at British unis and examines what happens when victims of racist abuse at university want to complain. Watch the BBC iPlayer video to learn more.
Films that centre around institutional racism, unconscious bias and the impact this can have on retention and attainment for BAME students. Created by students, these short films articulate their understanding of the racial inequity and their experiences and understanding of HE as racially minoritised students. The videos are not focused on unconscious bias but the role, function and experience of institutional racism.
Tension addresses the topic of institutional racism and the gap in student retention amongst BAME (Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic) students within British universities. The film was inspired by analysing statistical data that highlighted the unexplained dropout rate of BAME students. The film attempts to provide an real insight into unconscious racial harassment within the Higher Education system and the micro-aggressions that often go unnoticed.
Media and News
Passing the baton: The Legacy of the Windrush Pioneers – Created by local arts and heritage organisation Nyara Arts is now available to view online! The film focuses on the legacy of the Windrush Generation and the ways in which they have shaped and enriched Sheffield’s cultural landscape through arts, culture, faith, food, and the rebuilding of Britains industries. While you’re there take some time to explore the other excellent work that Nyara Arts do!
The Tyranny of Positivity – Four Thought. Here Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre argues against the tyranny of positivity, which forms part of a culture of ‘performative wellness’.
Inclusive Employers: their latest podcast episode focuses on anti-racism in the workplace. Host Steven Copsey, Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultant, is joined by special guests Baron Anyangwe, Head of Finance at Marks and Spencer and Sandy Sohal, our Special Project Consultant. They discussed what progress had been made to progress anti-racism in the last 12 months and what more can be done. Hear their experiences, top tips and expert advice for developing anti-racism in your workplace.
Tackling racism on campus: Raising awareness and creating the conditions for confident conversations – An Advance HE Project funded by SFC and led by an expert group of EDI practitioners, academics, tertiary education staff and students.
Has George Floyd Changed Britain? The passing of the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Sir Trevor McDonald and Charlene White hosted a new hour-long documentary for ITV exploring its impact for people living in the UK.
3.Developing racially diverse and inclusive environments.
University leadership teams are no representative of the student body and some curriculums do not reflect minority groups’ experiences. A greater focus is needed from universities, working with their students, on ensuring that racially minoritised students have a sense of belonging at their university, and on understanding how a poor sense of belonging might be contributing to low levels of engagement and progression to postgraduate study.
|Staff Guide to Student Inclusion | Glossary of Definitions | Decolonising the Curriculum and resources | Diversity in the workplace | Diversity on Student Placements|
Staff Guide to Student Inclusion
Staff Guide to Student Inclusion Handbook: This is an introductory guide for staff at Sheffield Hallam to raise awareness of equality diversity and inclusion, when working with students. It can be a place to start building your understanding, so find out more, access training and development and talk to colleagues to build our collective awareness.
Glossary of definitions
Take a look at our Glossary of Definitions and visit our range of resources, activities and a set of critical questions to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of behaviours, curriculum and conversation that impacts on racial equity.
Decolonising the Curriculum
One of the areas of focus for Sheffield Hallam’s work around the Degree Awarding Gap is for us to think about what strategies could be put in place – with care and involving students – to ‘decolonise the curriculum’. Decolonising the curriculum requires us to consider, and then address, how the values, norms, thinking, beliefs and practices that frame the curriculum perpetuate white, westernised hegemony and position anything non-European and not white as inferior. Please take a look at the following range of resources focused on this theme:
Sheffield Hallam guidance and presentations
- Reading Lists: Creating an inclusive reading list and decolonising the curriculum through the reading lists that you create for your course/module.
- Books: You can find a range of books and articles to celebrate and explore themes related to Black Lives Matter. All the resources listed are in the Hallam Library collections and are available to borrow for free by Sheffield Hallam University students or staff. Visit the Library Reading Lists Online page to learn more.
- Conference presentations
- Kirkham, L., & Salih, I.(2021). Sheffield Hallam University Nursing and Midwifery Minoritised group: the experiences of black student nurses, past and present. International Family Nursing Association Black History Month 2021 – International Family Nursing Association (IFNA) – UK and Ireland Chapter (ifnaukandireland.org)
- September 2021: Advance HE NET2021 – Ifrah Salih, Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Academic Development and Diversity and Shirley Masterson-Ng, Principal Lecturer on behalf of the Nursing & Midwifery Minoristised Group presented at the NET2021 conference. Take a look at the their NET2021 conference poster and their NET2021 PowerPoint presentation.
- In Conversation. Creating a minoritised student support group.
- CoDHcast – Anti-Racism in Academia series | Ifrah Salih on Minoritised | Council of Deans of Health
- Project to decolonise archival material – a Hallam-supported Polyvocal Interpretation of Contested Cultural Heritage project (PICCH) lead by Professor Daniela Petrelli and Dr Rinella Cere and scheduled to run until April 2023. Visit the College of Social Sciences and Arts (SSA) SharePoint site for further details.
- Hallam Race Network – hosted their presentation Emancipating (Decolonising) The Mind and Other Tricks on 25th June. This online event focussed on how colonisation has affected the way our minds see the world and how this can lead to discrimination and bias. The guest speaker, Jass Thethi, explored the steps we can take as individuals to remove this colonised lens and work to view the world through a social justice model and become allies to minoritised groups.
Sheffield Hallam: Students’ Union
Launched its ‘Why Is My Curriculum White Campaign’. Founded at UCL, is a national movement aiming to encourage a broader diversity of course content in education. The movement aims to decolonise and critically challenge course content and perspectives offered through the accepted Western white canon of knowledge.
- The Universities UK (UUK) have publicised new practical guidance on tackling islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in universities.
- Wonkhe BLM 2021 – “Do black lives still matter in HE?” – hosted by Nous and presented by Amatey Doku 30th June 2021. Take a look at the:
- Watch a video on ‘Why is my curriculum white?‘ – UCL – video dated: September 2014.
- Decolonising the curriculum: what’s all the fuss about? – SOAS University of London – Article dated: 18th January 2017.
- Solidarity with @GoldAntiRacism #goldoccupy #myracistcampus – Sisters of Resistance – Article dated: 23rd April 2019.
- Agarwal, P. (2020). Sway Unravelling unconscious bias. Bloomsbury Sigma.
- Akala. (2018). Natives. Race & class in the ruins of empire. Two Roads.
- Diangelo, R. (2021). Nice racism. How progressive White people perpetuate racial harm. Penguin Books.
- Diangelo, R. (2018). White fragility. Why it’s so hard for White people to talk about racism. Penguin Books.
- Jablonski, N. G. (2012). Living Colour. The biological and social meaning of skin colour. University of California Press.
- Reid, N. (2021). The good ally. Harper Collins.
- Rutherford, A. (2020). How to argue with a racist. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
- Sarpong, J. (2017). Diversify. Harper Collins.
- Sarpong, J. (2020). The power of privilege. How White people can challenge racism. Harper Collins.
- Steele, C. M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi. How stereotypes affect us and what we can do. Norton.
- Racism at Work: The Danger of Indifference by Binna Kandola
- Taking Up Space by Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi
- On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed
- Dismantling Race in Higher Education: Racism, Whiteness and Decolonising the Academy edited by Jason Arday and Heidi Safia Mirza
- Decolonising the University edited by Gurminder K. Bhambra, Dalia Gebrial, Kerem Nişancıoğlu
- A FLY Girl’s Guide to University by Lola Olufemi, Odelia Younge, Waithera Sebatindira, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan
- Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks
- Speaking Data and Telling Stories by Dr Martin Glynn
- Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan
- Thicker than Blood: How Racial Statistics Lie by Tukufu Zuberi
- White Logic White Methods by Tukufu Zuberi and Edwardo Bonilla-Silva
Diversity in the Workplace
On 15th June 2021, a HR strategic group hosted by Dr Nighet Riaz, Advance HE, Sue Clyne, Edinburgh College, Mia Liyanage, Researcher, Advance HE and Yasmeen Hussain, Expert Working Group Member, University of Strathclyde delivered their presentation Tackling the underrepresentation of ethnic diversity in the workplace. You can also watch their session.
Diversity in student placements
Research paper exploring Sheffield Hallam University’s health and social care student experiences on placement. Despite considerable efforts there continues to be a degree awarding gap within the United Kingdom (UK) between the proportion of White British students receiving higher classifications, compared to ethnic minority UK‑domiciled students. Practice placement elements constitute approximately 50% of most health and social care programmes, yet surprisingly little research exists related to the factors which may contribute to ethnic minority student placement outcomes or experiences. This study bridges this evidence gap by exploring factors influencing differential placement outcomes of ethnic minority students from the perspectives of key stakeholders.: Multiple stakeholder perspectives of factors influencing differential outcomes for ethnic minority students on health and social care placements: a qualitative exploration presented by the BMC Medical Education and published 4th January 2022.
4.Getting the evidence and analysing the data on the attainment gap.
Universities need to take a more scientific approach to tackling the attainment gap, by gathering and scrutinising data in a far more comprehensive way than they may currently be doing, in order to inform discussions between university leaders, academics, practitioners and students. Take a look at the Degree Awarding Gap dashboard for data information.
5.Understand what works.
Universities can work together to address gaps in the evidence-base by using applied research to ensure that evidence on ‘what works’ is high quality, and share evidence of what works and what doesn’t. As a first step, UUK has created a collection of case studies, which universities and students are encouraged to engage with and develop.
Learning from Sector practice
The Universities UK (UUK) have publicised new practical guidance on tackling islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in universities.
To identify some of the targeted actions that have taken place in the sector and to use these as a starting point/learning opportunity to inform future work within Colleges and Departments. Universities UK: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Student Attainment at UK Universities – case studies #ClosingTheGap
What are other HE institutions doing?
There are a number of universities with mentoring schemes. We will add to this list over time but a few examples are below:
- The Beyond Barriers Mentoring Scheme at Kingston University aims to ensure that all of their students and staff have the best possible chance to succeed in their study or work. The Beyond Barriers Mentoring Scheme is available for both staff and students. The aim of the student arm of the scheme is to enable students to create a stable and secure foundation for university life;
- The University of Brighton runs a number of mentoring schemes aimed at BME students as well as other students who might benefit from additional support;
- Dare to Be is a mentoring scheme at De Montfort University. It aims to improve student confidence, self-belief and motivation. At the heart of the scheme is a focus on attainment, promoting students to do well in their studies and reach their full potential. Student mentees are matched to a mentor for one-to-one mentoring, which takes place during the academic year.
The following organisations offer a number of supportive initiatives which, whilst not necessarily directly designed to address differential outcomes, support those from Black, Asian and Minoritised ethnic groups to progress in to employment;
- Arts Council’s Change Makers leadership and development programme – increasing the diversity of senior leadership in art and culture by targeting the development of BME and/or disabled leaders:
- Ethnic Jobsite – offers recruitment advertisers opportunities to target BME candidates to bridge the gap between employers and ethnic minorities in the UK;
- Inspire programme, part funded by Arts Council England (2009) – aimed at attracting more BME curators in museums and galleries through two-year work placement opportunities
- Police force positive action scheme: for example Staffordshire Police Taking Positive Action
- PwC Diversity Career Mentoring programme – provides role models and support for university students/employees from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds;
- Royal Court Theatre’s Critical Mass scheme (2004) intended to build a ‘critical mass’ of playwrights from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds, now extended to other theatres such as The Belgrade Coventry
These asynchronous workshops provide an opportunity for you to have a more in-depth delve into some of key areas of study when it comes to equity and promoting an inclusive culture at Hallam. The CPD workshops are designed for you to use on your own, or as part of a team development activity. There are a number of sessions in these series, with more in development.
- Check out our ‘Micro? Aggressions – recognise, reflect, resist’ hour long interactive online session, seeking to identify and raise awareness of the nature and impact of microaggressions and micro-inequities in their various guises. The session proposes two ‘acts of resistance’ that can frame our responses to actions which foster change.
- Race Equity Detours
Equity Accomplice- We also provide opportunities to engage with your teams exploring racial equity. The suite aims to enhance the equity and outcomes for racially minoritised students, support individuals to recognise and utilise their power, to foster and model solidarity for students, explore ways of continually fostering inclusive and equitable learning encounters wherever they take place. Throughout the suite participants are supported in developing effective strategies to identify and act safely with impact to address micro-incivilities and aggressions that occur towards individuals with protected characteristics and the intersectionality of those characteristics. Here’s a short recording introducing the Equity Accomplice Programme (Zoom – 10mins – no password required). Further information can be found here:Equity Accomplice Programme
If there is a particular topic that you’d like to see discussed – please contact the team.
7.Past Events, Resources and Reports
|Hallam Events and Resources | Departmental Initiatives | External Events and Resources|
Hallam Events and Resources
- Race Equity Programme – Autumn 2020
- Race Equity Programme – Summer 2020
- Race Equity Programme – Spring 2020
- Race Equity Through Pedagogy Conference – July 2019
- Decolonising the University Symposium – May 2019 – was to create a space to develop our institutional understanding of decolonising the curriculum and discuss the notion of the student journey in the context of decolonising practices and procedures.
- Disparity in Attainment Series 2019
Our decolonising work has already begun in the University and includes a number of;
Advance HE’s Knowledge hub highlight a number of resources on race inequality and race identity:
- Decolonising identity ‘what’s in a name’? – This podcast is the first in a series exploring structural race inequality and the complexity of identity.
- Advance HE’s 20-21 focus on Tackling structural race inequality in HE – member benefit activities.
- Advance HE EDI Conference resources hosted 16th – 18 March 2021:
Universities UK – Anti-racist academic practice
A new set of recommendations designed to decisively tackle racial harassment as part of efforts to address racial inequality in UK higher education. The recommendations are the product of an advisory group convened by UUK in October 2019 and come just over a year after the Equality and Human Rights Commission uncovered widespread evidence of racial harassment on university campuses. Take a look at:
- Universities UK website – tackling racial harassment
- Universities UK presentation slides in Tackling racial harassment in high education.
- Universities UK – webcast – tackling racial harassment
If you are new to the notion of the ‘attainment gap by ethnicity’, a good place to start is with the report: ‘The Ethnicity Attainment Gap: Literature Review’. Miriam Miller – April 2016.
The Universities UK blog summary report was produced following a project which included several members of Hallam including Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University. Chris was a member of the vice-chancellors’ working group that provided feedback and a strategic view for the project, and Professor Jacqueline Stevenson and Aloma Onyemah provided contributions and guidance.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] has published a report on racial harassment in British universities. This is the first significant study of the issue across the sector and makes it plain that racial harassment is all too often a fact of life for minority staff and students. It concludes that universities have not been sufficiently equipped to recognise and respond to racial harassment, are unaware of the scale of the issue and have been overconfident in their ability to handle it. It is, in short, a damning report. Sheffield Hallam University is committed to advancing race equality and creating a racially inclusive culture for everyone who works and studies here. Participation in the EHRC survey was voluntary, and this University participated in the survey willingly. But, like other universities across the sector, we have a good deal of work to do.
New nationwide tool to support equality in Higher Education
Headed by Dr. Lucy Jones, the ESPRC funded project introduces the EDI Resource Bank – a new open-access database hosted by the University of Nottingham to support those engaging in EDI in UK universities.
A collection of reports and papers from across the sector that encompass the sections above, including content from our own Hallam colleagues. If you’d like to contribute to this collection, please contact the team
Support Resources: Towards Narrowing the Degree Awarding Gap – Curated by Sehrish Tahir, Department for Education, Childhood and Inclusion, SSA
|This page is managed by the Academic Development & Diversity Team and if you have any queries about the information and resources please contact the team.
Last updated: 5th December 2022 NB