The University has committed £15 million to drive racial equity and inclusion at London Met.
Date: 3 March 2021
London Met is today launching its Race Equity Strategy, which aims to transform the experience of Black and minoritised students at the University and act as a catalyst for changes across the sector.
The strategy has been driven by London Met’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion, which was founded last year to act as the driving force behind our pedagogy, student experience and workplace culture.
Events in the last year have highlighted the discrimination and disadvantage that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities face in the UK into sharp focus, while the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last year saw many universities make renewed commitments to racial inequality; and the pandemic has intensified the spotlight on health and economic inequalities.
Higher Education has historically failed to serve diverse communities; for example, across the sector, only 57% of Black students achieve first class or 2.1 degrees, compared to 81% of White students. As one of the country’s most socially inclusive universities, London Met takes its commitment to diversity and anti-racism seriously, with an evidence-based strategy which acknowledges that an organisation’s culture is led from the top down.
The strategy highlights the need for focused investment to make effective, tangible change. As such, are committing £15 million over the next five years which will be targeted towards:
- fixing the academic pipeline, ensuring that the staffing base and decision-makers reflect the diversity of our students and the local communities we serve;
- changing institutional culture through an ambitious staff development programme;
- decolonising academic practices;
- and funding research projects that will support the achievement of this plan.
Professor Lynn Dobbs, Vice-Chancellor of the University said, “At London Met we have always been committed to using the power of education to transform lives. Our new strategic plan places our commitment to social justice and social change at its heart.
“We have some work to do to achieve our goals. Our degree-awarding gap is too stark and whilst our proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff is growing, there is a lack of representation in senior academic roles and non-academic leadership roles in the University.
“But we are changing. We have established the Centre for Equity and Inclusion, and we have launched a significant, wide-ranging curriculum review. Our Education for Social Justice Framework will bring a curriculum that combines the principles of inclusive pedagogy with a progressive values-based vision reflecting the mission of the University. We will not lose our commitment to this agenda. This strategy is very important to us. It puts into print the hard targets that we need to achieve so we can better support the communities that we are so proud to work with.”
Dr Zainab Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of the Centre for Equity and Inclusion added, “There remains a litany of challenges hampering the advancement of race equity in higher education. Ethnic minority and in particular Black students are more likely to drop out, less likely to complete their studies on time, more likely to be subject to misconduct investigations, less likely to be awarded good honours or progress to graduate-level employment.
“In relation to staff, Black and minoritised individuals remain less likely to be appointed, progress or occupy senior roles. There are also race pay gaps and an increased likelihood of flight from the sector. These are all symptoms of institutional racism and we must take responsibility for rooting out practices which uphold racist systems.
“We are building a university that aspires to be anti-racist in our practice. As a minority-serving institution where the majority of our students are from Black or minoritised backgrounds there is an added ethical imperative to deliver change.
“Our strategic plan will tackle systemic barriers, both seen and unseen, and replace them with structural and cultural change. Our ambition is to engage everyone in the practice of anti-racism and for us to respond to the nuanced challenges facing different racialised communities. The real test will be if Black and minoritised members of our community see and feel the change.”