How we work towards race equality
We are committed to ensuring that our institutional values focus on creating equitable opportunities and outcomes for minority ethnic groups at Surrey. We have developed and implemented an extensive action plan that includes a focus on a reduction of the awarding gap between Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and White students, and a comprehensive approach to improving race equality for staff and students.
The plan aims to close the Black, Asian and minority ethnic awarding rate gap and improving race equality for staff and students. The full action plan document has an exhaustive list of the timeline and the expected impact levels of each action.
Race Equality Charter
We are delighted to have been awarded a bronze award for the Race Equality Charter. This involved pan-University staff and student collaboration.
Race Equality Charter Action Plan
We have worked hard to develop a Race Equality Action Plan that addresses our areas of priority focus and challenge; a comprehensive list of actions that are being implemented across the University as short, medium, and long-term actions.
The action plan includes actions that aim to close the Black, Asian and minority ethnic awarding gap and improving race equality for staff and students. The full action plan document has an exhaustive list of the timeline and the expected impact levels of each action.
- Race Equity training for senior leaders
- Ensure widespread completion of ‘Introduction to Race Equity’ eLearning module by all staff and PGR students
- Strengthen face-to-face equity training mandatory for all those involved in staff interviewing/ disciplinary/promotion panels, including discussion of importance of intersectionality
- Introduce new bitesize workshops for staff and PGR students to provide skills to manage difficult and sensitive conversations with students (and staff) related to race and culture, and reports of racism
- PSS career pathway review to be undertaken by Head of Organisational Development
- Improve the engagement of Black, Asian and minority ethnic academic staff with leadership and management courses
- Improve the engagement of Black, Asian and minority ethnic PSS staff with training and developmental opportunities
- Introduce new development opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff
- Collect ethnicity data on academic staff and PGR students who complete Surrey Institute of Education (SIoE) and Doctoral College courses
- Introduce new evaluation and feedback system for all development training courses across Learning and Development
- Introduction of essential student eLearning module on Zero Tolerance to Hate, being developed in collaboration with Advance HE
- Additional wellbeing support for BAME students and staff in response to racism/racial trauma
- Regular monitoring of REC action plan by Executive Board
- The Self-Assessment team becomes the Implementation team
- Introduce standardised minimum time allocation for key EDI roles to be included in workload planning models to recognise people’s contributions and ensure that EDI is identified as a priority area of work.
- Run a REC staff and student survey every three years focusing on race
- Increase staff engagement with surveys through dedicated communications campaign and monitor EDI responses
- Improve student engagement with surveys and analyse data and free text comments relating to EDI issues, stratified by ethnicity
- Run scoping focus groups for Black British PGT students
- Set up REC mentoring relationship with Kings College London, bronze award holders, with a REC bronze award as their beacon activity
- Greater support for placement tutors, HR and investigating officers in managing reports of racism
- Demonstrate commitment to supporting Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showmen and Boaters (GRTSB) into Higher Education
- EDI dashboard to be created featuring current, historical, and bench-marking EDI related data, including staff and student demographics, staff recruitment, promotion, student awarding gaps, and staff pay gaps
- Placement companies to demonstrate/ commit to equality standard
- Improved processes for reporting racism in placements
- Surrey Black Scholars programme implemented to improve pipeline, experience, and career trajectories of Black British postgraduate students
- Improve inclusive researcher development training
- Increase Black, Asian and minority ethnic students’ sense of belonging
- Increase ringfenced funding opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students
- Improve inclusive teaching provision for taught students
- Investigate Black, Asian and minority ethnic awarding gap data
- Introduce a formal mechanism as part of the Curriculum Design Review for ensuring that race/ethnicity considerations have been appropriately incorporated in the teaching and learning strategy
- Develop online materials to support teaching staff in developing inclusive teaching practice and to include a consideration of a broad range of equality and diversity issues, including race/ethnicity in their teaching
- Run workshops with academic staff to allow to raise issues and increase their confidence in discussing race and ethnicity and with students to ensure the student voice is embedded
- Continually review scheduling of exams deadlines on an annual basis to ensure that faith and cultural concerns are taken into consideration
- Create a student peer mentoring scheme, targeted at our Black, Asian and minority ethnic students
- Introduction of a University award celebrating Black students’ academic performance
- Awareness-raising initiatives for staff regarding the Black, Asian and minority ethnic awarding gap
- Appropriate Executive Board Key Performance Indicators (KPI) on Black, Asian and minority ethnic Awarding Gap with specific KPI for relevant leadership
- Re-prioritise school outreach activities to include focus on schools with higher Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation
- Recruitment and support of BAME PGR students
- Implement Diversity 200 recruitment project
- Increase awareness of ‘Report + Support’ online reporting tool
- Embed EDI within annual appraisal system
- Increase understanding of academic staff appraisal ratings
- Provide support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic research staff to get permanent research roles
- Implement a full review of fixed-term contract research and teaching and PSS staff in each faculty by ethnicity and international status
- Investigate the reasons why the proportions of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff working part-time are lower than White counterparts
- Improve communication of message that the right to request flexible working hours should be open to all staff
- New flexible ‘blended working’ policy will encourage staff to work from home, regular monitoring through annual HR staff survey according to ethnicity
- Use the feedback from colleagues leaving the University as part of our continual improvement programme
- Increase the proportion of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff in the Professional Services job family
- Increase the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff on senior committees
- Support Black women’s career development
- Close pay gaps at all grades for both academic and PSS staff through EDI dashboard
- Expand the staff mentoring scheme to include a greater number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic mentors
- Recognition of contribution to EDI in academic promotion
- Increase knowledge of and confidence in fairness of the academic promotion process
- Monitor demographics of University staff participating in internal events/ promotional activities
- Run internal communications campaign to staff to encourage disclosure of protected characteristics data, with information about how data are used and support EDI progress
- Increase Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation among prominent University awards, e.g., Honorary Degrees Awards, VC Awards for Staff Excellence, and Alumni Achievement Awards
- Create a Surrey Black, Asian and minority ethnic power list – celebrating the most influential BAME leaders in the communities with which we work
- All University conferences to consider inclusion of an EDI strand
- Organise a series of annual events for Black History Month
- Marketing campaign targeted at areas in South East with high proportion of Black communities to increase Surrey’s visibility as a potential university destination
- Collaborate with Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council, police, local schools, and businesses to discuss town and county-wide initiatives to improve inclusivity
- Re-establish liaison group with Surrey police about management of race-related incidents with student consultation
Report + Support
We have a zero tolerance policy towards abuse, bullying, harassment, hate crime and sexual misconduct. All staff, students and visitors to campus can report a racially motivated incident anonymously or with their contact details through our report and support service. Anonymous or identifiable reports can be submitted as a racially motivated incident and we strongly encourage the use of this tool for anyone who may need it.
Closing the awarding gap
The BAME awarding gap is the gap in degree awarding of firsts and 2:1s between White and students who identify as being from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. This gap is observed in most UK universities and is widely acknowledged to result from structural inequalities embedded within the UK’s higher education institutions.
At Surrey, we are working really hard to close our awarding gap and we are delighted to say that it has reduced from 26 percentage points last year between Black and White students to 15 percentage points this year. But we will not be content until we have reduced this much further. In a collaborative effort with the Students’ Union, Pro VC Academic Professor Osama Khan has led the development of a comprehensive action plan to close our BAME awarding gap and improve race equality generally across our community. This action plan includes a range of actions, including decolonising the curriculum.
Decolonising the curriculum
Decolonising the curriculum can be interpreted in many ways but ultimately it refers to a fundamental ‘rethink’ of what is taught, how it is taught and who is represented in the teaching and delivery.
The process encourages academics to create spaces and opportunities for dialogue with students about how we can reimagine our traditional views on our subject areas. This is a really important process to ensure that we are presenting more diverse perspectives, as well as acknowledging all those who have contributed to the development of our fields of study. This is one of the action points within our action plan, and we will be looking to support departments in their engagement with decolonisation and diversification of curriculum. See our inclusive education webpages for more information about our decolonising work.
Tackling racism in higher education
Professor Osama Khan was joined by Amatey Doku (from Nous Group) to discuss what we can do to advance race equality within universities. Amatey Doku is a specialist consultant in higher education and has worked with senior leaders at a government, sector and university level, tackling structural inequalities and using qualitative experiences to offer an evidenced-based approach to solutions. Amatey reflects on inequality in UK higher education and suggests solutions for how the sector can eradicate these inequalities.