Universities Need to Take the Initiative Towards Diversity
6th June 2018
Hot on the heels of a Twitter altercation between MP David Lammy and the University of Oxford, where he criticised the University for being “a bastion of white, middle class, southern privilege,” it has been found in a recent Freedom of Information request that some colleges of the University of Cambridge admitted no black British students between 2012 and 2016.
In response to the findings, the University stated that more needs to be done to prepare high-achieving black students for applications to Cambridge and Oxford, hence their increased investment in programmes such as Target Oxbridge – a free programme that aims to help black African and Caribbean students and students of mixed race with black African and Caribbean heritage increase their chances of getting into the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge.
The responsibility should not solely be on students applying to these prestigious universities and the University of Cambridge has itself acknowledged that it requires assistance to become fairer and more inclusive to prospective students.
As experts in the field of unconscious bias and diversity, Marshall E-Learning has helped Universities take the initiative and move towards fostering an environment of inclusivity and fairness, working with institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, the University of Brighton, and St. Andrew’s University.
For Brighton and St. Andrew’s, this came in the form of courses designed to help staff address the inclusivity and diversity of their workplace and in their treatment of students. For the University of Edinburgh, this focus on Diversity took the form of a course for students themselves to confront their unconscious biases.
Racial and gender bias in higher education has been a known issue from as early as 2004 according to Professor Steven Schwartz’s landmark report, Fair Admission to Higher Education. It is still relevant today and more important than ever to acknowledge our moral responsibility to raise awareness for these issues.
True ‘equality’ can be hard to achieve in universities, even after confronting our biases. Instead the goal should be to create an organisation, working environment, or indeed application process which is as inclusive and as fair as possible.