Student equality, diversity and inclusion report 2019 Ethnicity actions

The University continues to work to identify and address matters which specifically pertain to race and ethnicity. The University’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is a core strand of its Strategy 2018 -2023. Within this strand, a priority is achieving greater ethnic diversity and seeking to identify where there may be progress, retention and experience gaps for BAME students with the view to taking meaningful actions to address identified gaps.

Within this report, retention and attainment data by ethnicity is related to UK-domiciled students only. When reporting on the academic year 2019-2020 onwards, the University will publish retention and attainment data for both UK and non-UK domiciled BAME students.

Race Equality Working Group

The University has established a Race Equality Working Group (December 2019). This group will be pivotal in addressing identifiable gaps related to ethnicity (e.g. recruitment, retention, attainment) and will work towards making underlying organisational changes to secure the Advance HE Race Equality Charter.

Equality, diversity and inclusion staff appointment

In March 2019, the University’s first Assistant Vice Principal (AVP) for Diversity was appointed. This senior-level role is a visible and high-profile demonstration of the University’s determination to place equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the St Andrews experience.

In March 2020, the University appointed a Research Fellow and Project Manager in Equalities to work with the AVP Diversity to implement EDI initiatives across the University. The University also appointed an EDI Project Officer. In addition, the University has appointed two EDI Area Leads (one for Arts and Divinity and one for Science) to further the EDI agenda within their respective faculties. These new roles build on the existing EDI staff complement of our Head of EDI, two Equality and Diversity Awards Advisers and an EDI Assistant.

Inclusive curriculum audit

The Project Manager in Equalities will be working with Student Services and the Proctor’s Office to audit the inclusive curriculum initiatives currently active across the University, with a focus on race and ethnicity. The audit will identify areas to improve and ensure all Schools remain abreast of sector best practice.

Consultation exercises

In 2019, the University undertook a large consultation exercise to collect the views of 1,000 staff and students, through focus groups and anonymised surveys. The data was analysed to identify key themes and, where possible, ‘group specific’ trends, including trends in BAME respondents. This research informed the development of the University’s People Strategy and its Action Plan.

Some actions, which may impact the ethnic attainment gap are (list is not exhaustive):

  • Improving our understanding of students’ experience of applying and being accepted to St Andrews (including from diverse perspectives).
  • Supporting networks of University communities around specific issues, experiences and interests including BAME communities.
  • Developing a culture of feedback for staff and students.
  • Creating space and opportunity for all staff and students to express ideas on how we can improve St Andrews.
  • Improving web content to attract students by enhancing visibility of access routes and support and ensuring that St Andrews’ outward face presents a highly inclusive culture for students to find easily.
  • Taking a systematic and proactive approach to ask students in their final year if they are interested in further study at St Andrews.
  • Ensuring teaching sessions are as inclusive as possible e.g. lecture capture, embedding inclusive practices and innovative and diverse modes of learning and interaction in small group sessions.