The Team

Kaushika is the Interim Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at De Montfort University (DMU), and has been in academia since 2007. 

Kaushika’s approach is to ensure inclusivity in engagement, to ensure that all voices are heard and she is especially conscious of ensuring that she supports and enables the quieter voices to be heard and have their space.

Kaushika also formally mentors and coaches BME staff at DMU. As an academic Kaushika is keen to support BME staff to have a voice within their university – and the wider HE sector – and to have the opportunity to present their thoughts, ideas and solutions to effect change to make HE a more welcoming and inclusive environment to work in, where your identity is welcomed, valued and supported.

Chris Hall is the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at DMU, and a member of the project’s team. His role is to support the work of the project through developing cross-institutional responses that are required, and to ensure that the project is aligned with the university’s other equality and inclusion work.

Chris has been at DMU since August 2016, and previously led equality work on a UK wide basis while employed at AdvanceHE.

As Fair Outcomes Champion for the Library and Learning Services (LLS) Kaye has worked to raise awareness of the BAME attainment gap with LLS staff, the wider Librarian profession and across courses at DMU.  She instituted a rolling programme of book displays promoting the increasingly diverse stock of Kimberlin, especially the promotion of leisure reading through events piloting the “Kimberlin Colour Full Reads” banner, promoting reading as an avenue to new worlds and cultures, a mirror to reflect experience and emotions and enhance feelings of belonging. She implemented a regular diversity display promoting BAME representation across many different themes.

Kaye has worked with Learning Services in the Library to increase diversity in resources, images, and examples used in teaching, promotional, and instructional guidance. The need for diversity and cultural awareness to be reflected in programme reading lists has been incorporated in official guidelines for DMU Resource lists and programme validations.

Melanie is a senior Lecturer in Law at De Montfort University (DMU) and has been lecturing since 2001. She was awarded her doctorate in 2014, focusing on the Public Sector Equality Duties within higher education, with particular emphasis on race and disability.  Melanie has taken an active role in furthering the equality agenda and influencing strategy within higher education locally and nationally.  Formerly Equality Rep for UCU and the University of Northampton,  she is now the FTA Fair Outcomes Champion for the Faculty of Business and Law at DMU.

Melanie is also a member of the Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Research Network, a Principle Investigator for a HEFCE funded project considering sexual violence on campuses, and has a report published in 2019 named ‘New Spaces: Protecting Students from Violence and Hate’. She is the Director and Chair of the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, and currently is also a consultant equality and diversity trainer for the Football Association, training Disciplinary Commission members and Chairs, Anti-Discrimination Panel members and Anti-Discrimination Commission Chairs.

Mark is an Associate Professor in Marketing. His practice led teaching stems from a successful industry career heading up brands like Carling, Thorntons Continental and Highcross Leicester. Specialising in Digital, Data and Direct Marketing, Mark uses up to date industry teaching as Fellow of the Institute of Data in Marketing (IDM) and a Fellow of the Chartered Management institute (CMI).

Mark’s recent work as a Fair Outcome Champion has led him to work with industry to help BAME students receive access, awareness and a network with industry. Leading #DMUGlobal trips to Silicon Valley and bringing Dragon’s Den most successful entrepreneurs to DMU highlight his quest to lower the Attainment Gap.

Lucy Ansley is the Decolonising DMU project’s Research Fellow. Her role involves the design and implementation of the project’s evaluation, supplementary research projects, and day-to-day project management. Her research work is influenced by a critical race grounded-methodology, with a particular focus on sharing the narratives of non-dominant voices.

Lucy was awarded her doctorate in Education and Technology in 2018, investigating digital literacy and professional learning. Her previous research work includes the internationally recognised DigiLit Leicester Project. She tweets at @LucyJCA

Bernadette is a health professional and Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, with over 30 years’ experience in the NHS and HEI sector as a Programme Leader, Course Designer, Personal Tutor, Assessor and External Examiner and Reviewer involved in all aspects of the student journey from admission processes to graduation and employment.  She has introduced innovative teaching practices and undertaken research involving the co creation of educational materials with a proven impact on the student experience.  

As a Fair Outcomes Champion Bernadette has worked with specific programmes reviewing student data, undertaking audits and seeking out examples of best practice in addressing the BAME attainment gap. She has helped to organize a series of workshops entitled Team Talks, where staff across DMU have been able to discuss best practice across the University, which helped in the production of a co creation guide for wider use.  Bernadette led a series of workshops with student groups seeking out their views as part of our research strategy and has been involved in the dissemination of our findings at internal and external conferences and events.   

Gurvinder Aujla-Sidhu is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at De Montfort University, and Associate Head of Leicester Media School at De Montfort University. She teaches practical and contextual modules about journalism and media and leads the BA Broadcast Journalism programme. She was awarded her doctorate in Media and Communication in 2019. This focused primarily on minority ethnic media workers working within public service broadcasting. She is a member of the Media Discourse Centre at DMU, and is a member of the MeCCSA Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Network, and was the Deputy Chair of the group between January 2016 and January 2019.

As a Fair Outcomes Champion Gurvinder has worked with programmes to help to make their curriculums more diverse. You can follow her work on Twitter @gurvy100.

Richard Hall directs the research and evaluation strand of the Decolonising DMU project. He is Professor of Education and Technology at De Montfort University, and a National Teaching Fellow.

Richard is a trustee of the Open Library of Humanities, a member of the Management Committee of the Leicester Primary Pupil Referral Unit, and an Independent Visitor for a child in care. He is the author of The Alienated Academic: The Struggle for Autonomy Inside the University with Palgrave Macmillan, and his new monograph The Hopeless University: Intel;lectual Work at the End of The End of History is publishd by MayFly Books in 2021. He writes about life in academia at

Antonia Jackson is the Senior Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisor at DMU, and a member of the project’s team.  Her role supports the integration and alignment of the project with wider university EDI initiatives, taking a holistic approach where possible to advance EDI more broadly across the institution.

Ben is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at DMU. He has been working towards decolonising his core undergraduate module in international relations theory for several years, for which work he was awarded the national Political Studies Association’s (PSA) Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching in 2019. Ben also organised a student-led, staff-student anti-racist reading group at DMU, which meets fortnightly during term-time each year to discuss a book related to race/racism, anti-racism, and intersectionality. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of DMU’s Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, and a member of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, for which he co-leads the Racialised Inequalities research strand. Ben’s most recent research project explored the intersectional politics of austerity and Islamophobia.

Zainab is a Senior Lecturer in Law at De Montfort University and was previously Lecturer and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer at Coventry University Law School. She completed her doctorate at the University of Birmingham looking at the marriage practices of minoritised women in English law and her research looks more broadly at the effects of the law on minoritised communities in the UK. Zainab mainly uses critical postcolonial feminist approaches in her research and academic practice that highlight the importance of structural inequalities, the legacies of colonialism and disrupting dominant discourses in law and society. As an editor for the academic journal Feminist Legal Studies, Zainab has also been involved in activities focussed on addressing the lack of representation of authors based in the “Global South” in academic publications. She has participated in and is organising activities to support early career colleagues from the “Global South” with publishing their research in the “Global North”.  Zainab has joined the Decolonising DMU project as a Fair Outcomes Champion to work on staff and research-related initiatives.

Hardeep Basra is an Academic Professional Development Consultant and has been working at DMU since 2018. She is the current Programme Leader of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, which champions and embeds inclusive practice. Hardeep is also C0-Chair of the DMU BAME Staff Network. Hardeep takes an active role in addressing inequalities and disparities in higher education but particularly in the area of learning and teaching. As a member of the project team, Hardeep leads an expert group which is developing a Decolonising DMU toolkit, which will enable staff to decolonise their curriculum, their teaching practices as well supporting professional services staff to also engage with the principles and agenda of the project. Hardeep is also positively reconstructing the PGCAP to place critical pedagogy at its centre, so we are developing HE teachers of tomorrow who have the skillset to work with a diverse student body and deliver an anti-racist pedagogy.

Derrick Mensah is a special adviser to the Office of the PVC Academic with responsibility for developing strategic initiatives on student engagement. While Studying, Derrick was always puzzled by the lack of student engagement in various opportunities. He previously served for two years as an Executive Officer in De Montfort Students Union where he was Vice President student activities. A graduate of Biomedical Science, he is passionate about the student experience and ensuring equal opportunities for all. He is working with students and the institution to evidence that the student engagement issues currently faced in HE can be solved with a robust institutional structure.

Sophie Holder is the Executive Officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at DMU, directly supporting the Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Kaushika Patel) within the department. Sophie will be contributing to the Decolonising DMU programme, the Race Equality Charter and various other tasks in support and collaboration with the EDI team, for the advancement of equitable outcomes and development, building an inclusive environment for staff and students across the institution.   Sophie is an English Literature and Journalism graduate, currently studying for her MA in Black British History.

Rachel currently works as DMU’s Course Specific Initiatives Officer and works within the Disability Advice & Support team. She is a dyslexia specialist teacher and assessor, with a wide range of experience in universities, further education, workplace learning and the voluntary sector. Rachel works within the Staff Workstream of the project and has a particular interest in how professional services staff can engage with the work of the project, and in how disability services can become more inclusive and accessible to students.