Using a programme-based approach to understand the university experience of Black students: A case for decolonising
Dr Blessing Marandure, Dr Jess Hall and Dr Saima Noreen
It is well established that there is an awarding gap between students of colour and their White counterparts in HE. Therefore, the aim of the study was to understand what Black students perceive as reasons for the awarding gap. As identified by the National Union of Students (2019), it is important to understand the student perspective, if the gap is to be meaningfully addressed. To achieve this, the authors conducted 2 focus groups with 16 students who identified as Black, and were enrolled on undergraduate Psychology programmes. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted to analyse the focus group transcripts. The main theme that emerged from the data was that of the difficulties that Black students faced when ‘navigating a non-Black environment’. This was characterised by a sense of unbelonging, with students discussing their experiences of being subject to negative racial stereotypes & microaggressions, having non-Black tutors they found it difficult to relate to, having unrelatable extra-curricular activities and feeling frustrations around Black history month. In response to these markers of unbelonging, students reported having to conform to perceived White norms, feeling pressure to overcome racial barriers, and reported mindsets that could act as either barriers to positive engagement, or as a source of resilience. These findings will be discussed within the context of the literature on the experiences of students of colour in HE, and will contextualise and reinforce the need for decolonisation efforts, in celebrating progress made so far.
Toolkit for Building an Anti-Racist University
Sumeya Loonat and Dr Hardeep Basra
As part of the Decolonising DMU project a staff toolkit has been produced to help support both academic staff and professional services staff on how to consider developing their practice in light of the decolonising agenda. This session provides an insight into some of the resources, which have been created. The importance of developing anti-racist institution is a key DMU commitment and engaging with the toolkit will allow you to evaluate your practice and to identify ways in how you can develop inclusive approaches and practices in a university setting.