On Thursday 22 November a public conversation took place debating the role of universities in enhancing social mobility. Professor Stuart Croft (Vice Chancellor), Amatey Doku (NUS Vice President), Dr Meleisa Ono-George (Director of Student Experience, History) and Larissa Kennedy (SU Education Officer) spoke about the challenges black students encounter in universities across the sector and what approaches are taken to address the black student attainment gap. There was a specific interest in learning from the national initiative by UUK and NUS, and Amatey Doku gave a range of examples of change taking place in the sector, emphasising the need for universities to work with black students on making progress. This co-production approach is reflected in the work of the WIHEA Learning Circle on researching and enhancing anti-racist pedagogy effort, which Meleisa Ono-George and Larissa Kennedy spoke about in some detail. Stuart linked some of the insights to the work on the Equality Challenge Unit’s findings on where progress is needed and put his support behind further change, both at national level and at Warwick.
The hosts, Liam Jackson (SU President) and Gwen van der Velden (Deputy PVC Student Learning Experience) found themselves much inspired by the positive interaction of the guests and speakers, and Gwen commented: ‘Much work is being done at Warwick on decolonising the curriculum, on understanding the experience of black students, and we benefit greatly from the work already successful in terms of widening intake, and whilst it is clear there is still much more progress needed, Warwick has great strength in our habit of working together with students, and that’s where I believe our next steps will now focus on even more strongly.’
(An audio recording of the conversation is available here)
Professor Stuart Croft
Dr Meleisa Ono-George