London Met initiatives to address the degree-awarding gap highlighted

The higher education advocacy organisation, Universities UK, showcased London Met's whole-institutional approach an example of innovation and excellence in higher education.

Date: 22 July 2022

A whole institutional approach implemented by London Met has been highlighted as an example of best practice in higher education in a new report from Universities UK (UUK) focussing on the degree awarding gap.

Closing ethnicity degree awarding gaps: three years on follows up on the progress since the UUK’s 2019 report, Closing the gap, which called on the UK higher education sector to accelerate progress in removing ethnicity degree awarding gaps; and highlighted the stark disparity that existed between white students and BAME students in their First and 2:1 degree outcomes.

London Met was one of over 100 universities to sign a pledge to follow the approach laid out by this report, and use a framework for universities to use to remove ethnicity degree awarding gaps.

London Met’s Fixing the Pipeline strategy, which aims to ensure staff at the University are representative of its students and community, was one of the key areas praised for its success in creating inclusive communities.

Additionally, the Race Equity Strategic Plan was showcased as an excellent example of providing strong leadership in the sector. This plan puts racial and social justice at the heart of London Met’s mission, arguing that there is no other sector better placed than higher education to address complex social problems.

Dr Zainab Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching & Learning and Director of London Met’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion, which led the two highlighted initiatives, provided advice and guidance to UUK throughout the project.

The report recognises there is still work to be done. The authors recommend that, “University leaders go further in their efforts to embed commitments to removing ethnicity degree awarding gaps, working in partnership with students. This includes setting clear expectations for the roles and responsibilities of all students and staff, measures of success, and ongoing accountability for a whole-institution approach.

“University leaders should identify the resources that are required for this, develop their own understanding of racial inequality and its impacts to help drive genuine change, and ensure the board of governors has oversight of progress.”

Denise Morrison, Full-time Officer for the School of Social Sciences and Social Professions, London Metropolitan University Students' Union spoke of the importance of the research, saying, “For me it is important for everybody to realise that there is a problem. There is a situation, and even if those conversations are very uncomfortable, you have to face them, because without facing them, you're ignoring them, and there's no change."

Commenting on today’s publication Zainab said ‘I am so pleased that the University has received this recognition. Staff in every London Met department have engaged in a significant change programme over the past two and half years which has involved attending a lot of training led by our brilliant Centre for Professional and Educational Development. Our student-facing staff have subsequently developed new provisions,curriculum approaches as well as adjusting to a new quality culture of heightened accountability for our action on this important matter.  Staff commitment, even during the pandemic, has been unwavering. Everyone at London Met wants to see this gap eliminated.’