BME students’ experiences of UCA teaching and learning

A Learning and Teaching project, which engaged student co-researchers in capturing student experience for BME students across campuses, has recently produced its findings and recommendations. These are to be considered over the coming months with a view to developing inclusive practices in this area. Please click here for the Full Report

The study has found that on the whole BME UCA students are positive about the way they experience the institution from the perspective of their ethnicity. One key theme to emerge from the data was that participants considered the institution to be welcoming and non-racist, and noted the emergence of an increasingly ethnically diverse student body.

However, the findings also demonstrate that the institution is not immune from the interplay of a range of macro, meso and micro level factors that can often position BME students as outsiders in Art and Design Higher Education. It is clear that any attempt to address the issues at the level of learning and teaching needs to take account of this complex interplay.

Themes identified through the student-led focus groups across the four campuses deal with issues around: equality and academic practices; communication, collaboration and belonging; and representing and recognising diversity. As well as documenting these themes through the collation and presentation of audio data, the study analyses them in relation to recent literature on the experience of BME students in HE in general, as well as that focusing more specifically on Art and Design.

Particular attention is paid to a recent HEFCE (2015) commissioned report into Causes of differences in student outcomes aimed at informing policy interventions. The broad recommendations of this report are then used to frame more specific proposals for how UCA might respond to the issues highlighted in context specific and universally inclusive ways, taking an evidence-based approach capable of utilising student insight and engagement, as well as the specific expertise of academic and professional services staff.

For more details of this UCA learning and teaching research project, please contact Steve Dixon-Smith, LD Tutor at UCA Canterbury SDixon-Smith@uca.ac.uk

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