The institution becomes the first university in Yorkshire to achieve the award after embarking on a comprehensive programme to achieve race equality and promote inclusion.
Leeds Trinity University has received the Race Equality Charter (REC) Bronze award, which recognises the University’s commitment to improving the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and staff.
The University achieved the Bronze award after embarking on a programme to achieve race equality, establishing an internal REC Self-Assessment Team and developing a comprehensive action plan to promote inclusion.
Initiatives introduced as part of the plan include the launch of Staff Equality Networks for BAME and International staff; investment in PhD studentships looking at widening access for BAME students; and the development of Re:Tension, a film by Leeds Trinity academic Ricardo Barker and toolkit which have been shared with other universities to discuss institutional racism, unconscious bias and the impact this can have on retention and attainment for BAME students in higher education.
In the last 24 months, Leeds Trinity has reformed its recruitment processes to ensure greater objectivity, has increased the proportion of BAME staff from 4.7% to 6.2% and has significantly reduced the shortlisting gap for BAME candidates.
Professor Charles Egbu, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, said: “In my first few weeks as Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity, I’ve seen first-hand how the University’s community approach provides an open and welcoming environment for all, whatever their background or belief.
“I’m delighted that the action colleagues have taken to improve the representation, progression and success of BAME students and staff at our institution has been recognised with the Race Equality Charter Bronze award. I would like to thank all staff and students who engaged with the process.
“This work does not stop now. More staff and students than ever before are talking about race inequality within higher education. I am committed to ensuring we hold ourselves accountable for the progress we still need to make within our University. We have a challenging, inclusive and achievable plan, and I am confident we will make a difference.”
Professor John Leach, Chair of Leeds Trinity’s REC Self-Assessment Team Committee, said: “Leeds Trinity is committed to promoting inclusion and I am very proud of the progress we have made as a University to drive change, embed practices within learning and teaching, and better understand the issues faced by BAME staff and students. The Race Equality Charter Bronze award is great recognition of this, but we know we have much more work to do.
“Our focus over the next three years will be on eliminating the attainment gap for BAME students, increasing the number of BAME academic staff and supporting the progression of BAME staff, especially to senior roles. We recognise the importance of BAME role models in higher education, across recruitment, retention, attainment, career progression and curriculum, and are keen to take a collaborative approach with other institutions.”
Shames Maskeen, Graduate Teaching Assistant, PhD student and Operational Lead for the Race Equality Charter, added: “Leeds Trinity University’s commitment to eliminating racial inequality and achievement of the REC Bronze award sends a very clear message that staff and students of all backgrounds are welcome here and that our University will not tolerate racism in any form.
“Our final submission was the outcome of three years of work by Leeds Trinity’s REC Self-Assessment Team, which identified areas in which institutional racism manifests and put actions into place to eliminate institutional racism. This award couldn’t have been achieved without the support and dedication of the diverse REC Self-Assessment Team and the backing of the Executive leadership team.
“Whilst we have already carried out a self-assessment, this is a continual process, and we will ensure that our action plan remains suitable and proactive to any change. The next step is to hold the University accountable in delivering the action plan and embedding race equality at all levels to ensure we are making a positive difference to the lived experience of our BAME staff and students. Whilst I am proud of all the work of my University, this is just the beginning our journey.”
The Race Equality Charter (REC) was set up by Advance HE. For more information on the Race Equality Charter see: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/equality-charters/race-equality-charter
Picture: Aerial image of Leeds Trinity University.