University of Birmingham recognised by Advance HE as one of 15 universities with Race Equality Charter Bronze Award

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Advance HE, the founders of the Race Equality Charter, have recognised the University of Birmingham with the Race Equality Charter Bronze Award, making Birmingham one of only 15 UK universities to hold an award.

The Race Equality Charter was set up by Advance HE to improve the representation, progression, and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The Charter is underpinned by a number of key principles, including an acknowledgement that: “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 everyday situations, processes and behaviours.”

The Charter provides a framework which institutions use to identify and reflect upon the institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. In order to apply for a Charter Mark, institutions submit their analysis and action plan to an independent panel convened by Advance HE. The Bronze Race Equality Charter Award recognises that institutions have undertaken an honest assessment of race equality, identified priorities, and developed a robust action plan to achieve these, and will also have demonstrated the support and commitment of senior leaders.

The University has made some progress over the past decade in improving access for students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. However, the Charter Mark also recognises the real challenges the University still faces to improve the experience and outcomes for our BAME students and to diversify our staff population through recruitment and progression. The University remains committed to creating and maintaining an academic community in which individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords. This is particularly important given our location in Birmingham.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Birmingham said:

“Although the outcomes of the analysis have been challenging, it has been extremely valuable in highlighting the need for long-term institutional change and in guiding us to develop an action plan to start to make these changes. I would like to thank all of the staff and students who engaged with the process.

“I am delighted that our assessment and action plan have been given a Bronze award, but we must recognise that this is the start of a journey on enhancing race equality and improving the experience of BAME staff and students.”

Professor Jo Duberley, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) said:

“In recent weeks we have rightly been asked about what actions the University is taking to respond to racial inequalities. The achievement of the Race Equality Charter Bronze Standard is part of our recognition that we can and must do more. The 3-year self-assessment process enabled us to take a careful and comprehensive analysis of our organisational processes and culture. This is significant work which included our largest ever consultative exercise on race, involving over 5,000 staff and students throughout 2018 and 2019.

“The associated action plan, developed with students and staff, is a comprehensive package of measures that we will be working on in the months and years to come. These are not all quick fixes, but we are determined to make a difference to the lives and experiences of our BAME communities within the University and wider society.”

The University joined the Charter in 2017 and submitted an application to the February 2020 round. The University has been awarded a Bronze Charter Mark and now has until 2023 to implement a comprehensive action plan. Actions cover a range of activities, including the development of a micro‐aggressions and interventions toolkit and training.

Read the full action plan

Note to editors

Latest University data for 2019 shows:

  • 20.4% of University staff are from BAME groups, 72.8% are from white ethnic groups, and 6.8% have not disclosed their ethnic origin
  • 20.5% of Academic staff, 24.1% of support staff and 17.1 of Admin and Other Related staff are from BAME groups.
  • 38.6% of University students are from BAME groups, 54.5% are from white ethnic groups, and 7.0% have not disclosed their ethnic origin
  • 31.0% of undergraduates, 60.1% of post graduate taught and 36.2% of post graduate research students are from BAME groups

For more information please contact Dominic Benson, Deputy Director of Communications, University of Birmingham, on +44(0)7976 327 067. Alternatively, contact the Press Office out of hours on +44(0)7789 921 165.

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, and its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from nearly 150 countries.