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Closing the Gap
BAME Ambassadors

The University of Huddersfield has a diverse student body, including Black, Asian, Arabic and other minority ethnic students. We use the term BAME to refer to students that are of, but not excluded to, Asian, Arabic, Chinese or Afro-Caribbean descent. As a Students’ Union, it is important to explore the student experience and gain insight into particular challenges that students face. The Attainment Gap is the difference between UK white students achieving a First or 2:1 degree in comparison to UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students. The BAME attainment gap is a growing concern in universities and here, at The University of Huddersfield, we have 25.5% gap between UK white students and UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students achieving a First Class Honours. 

We want to make sure we are supporting you to work together to offer guidance to the university to eliminate the BAME attainment gap and improve the student experience, representing and voicing their views from a position of authenticity.

If you become a BAME Ambassador, here are some of the activities you will be involved in:

  • Participate in committee and equality, diversity and inclusion training 
  • Seats at school committees and senior committees to negotiate BAME attainment.
  • Diversifying the Curriculum
  • Campaigning on issues that BAME students face including fundraising
  • Provided with a space to negotiate BAME challenges on campus with peers.
  • Enhance your CV and employability skill set.
  • Running events and fundraising

We're looking for passionate and motivated students to become BAME Ambassadors to ensure that BAME students are heard, better represented and voice their views from a position of authenticity.

If you become a BAME Ambassador, here are some of the activities you can get involved in:

  • Participating in committee and equality, diversity and inclusion training (with Fope Olaleye, current NUS Black Students Officer).
  • Sitting at school committees and senior committees to negotiate BAME attainment.
  • Diversifying reading lists.
  • Creating empowerment and growth workshops for BAME students.
  • Why is my Curriculum White? campaign.
  • Providing with a space to negotiate BAME challenges on campus with peers.
  • Enhancing your CV and employability skill set.
 

BAME Ambassadors are volunteers. They offer their time to the scheme to run campaigns, challenge the curriculum and ensure equality on campus for BAME students. If you would like to request an opportunity for a BAME ambassador to talk to you, run a project or support you to diversify your curriculum then please contact r.ward@hud.ac.uk.

In order to diversify the curriculum and ensure we are continuously tackling the BAME attainment gap, we must ensure BAME representation at committees and meetings. After lobbying the university to give BAME ambassadors a seat at the table we successfully managed to secure places for BAME ambassadors to represent BAME students at a whole host of committees.

We have secured places on the following committees:

  • University Teaching & Learning committee
  • School Teaching & learning Committees:
    • Applied Sciences
    • Art, Design & Architecture
    • Business School
    • Computing & Engineering
    • Education & Professional Development
    • Human & Health Sciences
    • Music, humanities & Media
  • Student Services Meeting

If you want to sit on a committee and ensure that BAME student voices are heard, then please contact h.wade@hud.ac.uk

Keeping track of your activities as a BAME Ambassador is important. We can share information from the tracker about updates of changes, express any issues that might need support from the Students' Union and see what needs changing. All information shared is not strictly confidential, as we may look to action your comments.

Here are just some of the activities/changes the BAME Ambassadors have secured over the past two years:

  • Delivered a workshop and panel presentation at the 2018 and 2019 University Teaching and Learning Conference on BAME student experiences.
  • Sat on various committees and meetings challenging the university to create change that supports BAME students and ensures they are using qualitative data to understand student experiences.
  • Working with numerous academics to support them to create an inclusive curriculum.
  • Introduced the Inclusive Participation Policy as part of the training for student groups.
  • Influenced the Students’ Union to submit to the Investing in Ethnicity and Race Maturity Matrix, of which is was accredited for in 2018.
  • Developed an online tracker to support and monitor change.
  • Spurred on the recreation of the universities BAME staff network.
  • Provided feedback from BAME students on mental health and wellbeing, placements, safety on campus, hate crime reporting and NUS Black Students Campaign name change.
  • Ran a nationally recognised campaign with the library, called Broaden My Bookshelf, to diversify library resources.
  • Raised over £700 for charities linked with people of colour.
  • Ran numerous campaigns that engaged over 1000 students throughout the two years focussing on Islamophobia and microaggresions.
  • Developed EDI in the Union and the University.
  • BAME Ambassadors have attended activist training, roundtable discussions with Universities UK and NUS as well as attended several other conferences.
  • BBC Short Stories feature on ‘How I learn to love my skin colour’.
  • Won 'Campaign of the Year' at the SU Awards.
  • Won Students' Union of the year at the NUS Black Students' Conference.
  • Shortlisted for Campaign and Representation award at the NUS awards.
  • Inputted into the NUS, UUK report on the attainment gap, #ClosingTheGap.
  • Held their own conference - HSU's perspective on tackling the BAME Attainment Gap, which saw over 50 Student Unions attend.

Tackling barriers that BAME students face means running campaigns that ranges from challenging stereotypes and perspectives to tackling structural inequality.

If you want to run a campaign please contact r.ward@hud.ac.uk.

Campaigns the BAME ambassadors have run in the past include:

  • Islamophobia Awareness
  • Understanding Microaggressions
  • Broaden My Bookshelf
  • World Hijab Day
  • A response to the New Zealand terror attack
  • Black History Month

Diversifying the curriculum is no small task. The BAME ambassadors told us that the lack of role models and curriculum content that they could identify with was limiting their education. In order to start diversifying the curriculum, the BAME Ambassadors identified that lack of diversity of authors on students reading lists.

Jonathan Stephen, the 2018/19 President, linked up with the library to discuss the diversity of reading lists and they then provided the BAME ambassadors access to all module reading lists. From this we carried out an audit of reading lists of over 100 different module reading lists and the diversity of over 1250 authors.

The findings weren’t surprising. On average, each school’s authors on the reading lists were 72% - 86% white in comparison to 3% - 7% non-white*.

Due to these results, the BAME ambassadors created and delivered the results to academics throughout the broaden my bookshelf campaign called Developing Diverse Reading Lists.

They wanted academics to:

  • Look into the history of your curriculum.
  • Speak to your students and ask them to suggest reading from BAME authors.
  • Know your attainment gap by school and by course.
  • Add books by BAME authors to your list and use platforms like https://diversityreadinglist.org/
  • Work with your subject librarian to diversify your reading list.
  • Use positive images and examples from a range of cultures and include texts and readings which reflect a diversity of perspectives that are free of negative stereotyping or assumptions.
  • Collaborate with #HudReads to share diverse books to read for pleasure.

Are you interested in finding out more? Do you think your curriculum needs to be more diverse? Have you got an idea about how to diversify your curriculum? Contact r.ward@hud.ac.uk.