Education that liberates individual potential and builds collective solidarity.
We are a university that has always had a strong social mission and through this strategic plan we are refreshing and recharging our ambition. We recognise the overwhelming evidence which links diversity in curricula with improved outcomes for Black and minoritised students. We want to unlock our students’ capacity to be agents of societal change, and to be supported by lecturers who understand the impact of race and coloniality on the way academic conventions, knowledge and traditions are formed.
Education for Social Justice Framework
- This is our lynchpin learning and teaching strategy for the next five years. Designed in partnership with students, the Students’ Union and staff to address the degree awarding gap we are going further to ensure the curriculum is delivered through a kaleidoscope of emancipatory pedagogic approaches so that Black and minoritised students see themselves reflected, the contributions of diasporic communities recognised and all subjects will engage with critical race theory.
- We will facilitate the co-design and enhancement of curricula with our students.
- Our students will develop their capacity for inclusive leadership with the opportunity to learn about the social issues facing London.
- We will ensure that our Student Services provide culturally appropriate provision, staffed by experts in inclusion and understanding into the impact of racialisation and racism on students.
Racial justice programmes
- Many British Black and minoritised students will reach university without having had any formal education covering their own racial and cultural history. Similarly, White students are also likely to have experienced a Euro-centric myopic presentation of history and culture during the formative stages of their education. We will develop and introduce a spine of Black and racial studies modules for all students to learn about the history of race in London, Britain and global migration.
Decolonising academic practices
Decolonisation typically refers to the withdrawal of political, military and governmental rule of a colonised land by its invaders. Decolonising academia, however, is understood as the process in which we rethink, reframe and reconstruct the curricula and research that uphold a Europe-centred, colonial lens. It should not be mistaken for ‘diversification’, as diversity can still exist within this western bias. Decolonisation goes further and deeper in challenging the institutional hierarchy and monopoly on knowledge.
We are actively seeking to decolonise the University through:
- Our learning and teaching strategy, the Education for Social Justice Framework, which will be monitored through academic quality processes and also under the auspices of the Access and Participation Plan.
- Our recruitment and promotion practices will build a staffing base where decolonial thought is evidenced in their academic practice, which in turn will encourage and support our students to undertake decolonial research.
- Our University culture, whereby staff and students will be supported and as a result become well-acquainted with what is meant by decolonisation.
- Implementation of the Education for Social Justice Framework by September 2022 for all degree programmes.
- We will reduce the degree awarding gap to 10% by 2025. Any gap is unacceptable so we are setting an additional stretch target of 5%.
- We will eliminate disparities in non continuation between White students and Black and minoritised students by 2025.
- We will develop a mixed methods evaluation process which will enable us to assess student satisfaction towards staff competency in discussions on race and racism.
"Structural racism as we know it today was solidified and perfected through the colonial project. To say we are post-colonial, would be to ignore the multitude of ways people of colour are still oppressed by colonialism. Decolonisation then, is not only necessary but essential to eradicating structural racism.
"Mainstreaming an educational experience of Black and critical race studies which uncover omitted voices and histories of Black people in the UK, creating a more honest and truthful narrative of Britain’s history and present, forms a vital educational basis. This is crucial in supporting the next generation of leaders, academics and more to unsubscribe to the historical amnesia and revisionism that is taught to us through compulsory education."
Sofia Akel – Centre for Equity and Inclusion