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Creation and Confidence: BME students as academic partners….but where were the staff?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Stella Jones-Devitt
  • Liz Austen
  • Liz Chitwood
  • Alan Donnelly
  • Carolyn Fearn
  • Caroline Heaton
  • Gabrielle Latham
  • Jill LeBihan
  • Andrew Middleton
  • Matt Morgan
  • Helen Parkin
  • Nathaniel Pickering
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change
Issue number1
Volume3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)278-285
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This Case Study documents the REACT project 'Creation and Confidence' based at Sheffield Hallam University, which has a larger-than-expected Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) attainment gap; hence, this student group has been constructed as 'hard to reach'. The project team consisted of a range of academic and professional services staff alongside three dedicated student researchers. The project set out to achieve: gaining evidence-based insights into the use of co-design and peer-learning as conduits of confidence-building for and belonging of BME students; developing a scalable approach to building confidence for and fostering belonging of all students; raising awareness of the need to think differently about explanations for BME underachievement. In reality, the team found that staff engagement constituted the biggest barrier, as - no matter how much incontrovertible evidence was presented - other facets of institutional provision were always identified as having priority, which resulted in inertia. This study documents the emotional labour of trying to effect change within a resistant culture. Whilst some of the aims remain unachieved – and, arguably, were always going to be unachievable - there have been some very positive developments and enlightening lessons.