University receives Race Equality Charter award

Female student wearing headscarf holding drone in lab.

The REC awards panel highlighted a number of positive developments across the University.

  • 14 June 2021
  • 3 min read

The University of Portsmouth has been recognised for its efforts to advance race equality with a Bronze award from the Race Equality Charter (REC).

The Race Equality Charter’s aim is to improve the representation, experience, progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students within higher education.

There are currently 82 institutional REC members and 18 Bronze awards. No university has a silver or gold award, showing that universities across the country have much to do to tackle racial inequalities.

We will reflect upon the recommendations and build these into actions, some of which are already underway. Our goal is to create a university that is able to harness the benefits of racial diversity and create a culture that nurtures a curiosity around difference.

Yvonne Howard, Interim Director of Race and Equality

After an honest assessment of race equality at the University, the REC awards panel highlighted a number of positive developments including:

• The creation of a scholarship fund for Black students.
• Plans for a graduate trainee scheme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Portsmouth graduates.
• Being a Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre and the institution’s participation in the citywide Hate Crime Working Group.
• The University’s five-year strategy to improve Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff representation and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students.

Yvonne Howard, Interim Director of Race and Equality at the University of Portsmouth, said: "I am delighted that we have achieved the REC Bronze Award, it is a testimony to the hard work and commitment of many individuals.

“We will reflect upon the recommendations and build these into actions, some of which are already underway. Our goal is to create a university that is able to harness the benefits of racial diversity and create a culture that nurtures a curiosity around difference."

Dr Arun Verma, Head of REC at Advance HE, said, “I am pleased to see Bronze awards announced for the University of Portsmouth and University of Nottingham from our latest REC round.

“A Bronze award is recognition of an institution’s robust foundation for eliminating racial inequalities, developing inclusive cultures and moving from commitment to sustainable and integrated bold and ambitious action.

“Advance HE looks forward to supporting these institutions as they progress their action plans to advancing race equality in their institutions.”

We understand the urgency of making a positive difference to the lives and experiences of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff and are committed to building a fully inclusive community.

Chris Chang, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement and Student Life)

As part of its submission to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter, the University identified over 60 priorities following feedback from students and staff, to tackle our key challenges including:

• The degree awarding gap, particularly between Black and White students.
• Low numbers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff, particularly in professional and support roles.
• Lack of career opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff.
• Under reporting of racial incidents by both staff and students.

The panel also commented on the need for a systematic review of processes and procedures in respect of racial equality. In response, the University is starting a review to improve in this area, led by Yvonne Howard, Chris Chang, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement and Student Life) and University Governor Roger Burke-Hamilton. Dr Jason Arday, of the Runnymede Trust, is also supporting the review and providing an independent expert perspective.

Chris Chang said: “We understand the urgency of making a positive difference to the lives and experiences of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff and are committed to building a fully inclusive community.”

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