Promoting Race Equality and Supporting Ethnic Diversity in the Academy: The UK experience over two decades

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This chapter employs a macro perspective to examine the role of the state in the UK in promoting race equality in higher education. While the dominant policy discourse has periodically drawn attention to the need to combat racial disadvantage, the only serious race equality strategy which made a difference, was short lived and in the last decade race equality has virtually fallen off the policy agenda. And yet over the same period, research evidence accumulates to demonstrate that BME staff and students continue to experience considerable disadvantage. Reflecting on the emergence and demise of the strategy which sought to support racial inclusion and ethnic diversity in the academy, it is suggested that universities are remarkably complacent. Such complacency partly stems from the dominance in the academy and indeed of much of society of a liberal as opposed to radical perspective on equality. Universities typically see themselves as liberal and believe existing policies ensure fairness; they thus ignore adverse outcomes and do not see combating racial inequalities as a priority. Such inertia will remain intact unless significant pressure is placed on universities to change. The chapter concludes by outlining two ideal typical approaches to the promotion of race equality (mandatory vis a vis optional) and suggests that the period has witnessed the transition from an approach close to the first ideal type to an approach close to the second approach. In this context, universities are urged to have no truck with a deficit model and to see it as their responsibility to take action to ensure more equitable outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategies for Supporting Inclusion and Diversity in the Academy
Subtitle of host publicationHigher Education, Aspiration and Inequality
EditorsGail Crimmins
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-43593-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-43593-6, 978-3-030-43592-9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020


  • Race equality
  • Race
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • Academy


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