The BAME award gap refers to the consistent difference in the grade of degree awarded to white students and students from an ethnic minority.
At Salford University in 2019 77% of white students obtained a first class or 2:1 degree compared with 49.5% of black students, a gap of 27%. We know that the gap between white students and all students from an ethnic minority background is 18%.
Research shows that this awarding gap is not due to students' academic ability. Even after taking into account multiple factors such as subject of study, age, gender, disability, prior qualifications, mode of study and more, there is still a difference in the degrees awarded to white students and those of BME students.
We believe that the Black attainment gap is a result of institutional and systemic failures within academia. This problem does not lie with black students to resolve themselves but it is on the university to make changes to tackle this issue.
Together with the University we are running focus groups to help us in understanding the experiences of non-white students on our campus. To take part in these please complete the short sign up form here.
We have reserved one session exclusively for BAME students to give a protected space for students to share their experiences. This is essential for this project in order to understand the broad range of experiences across the university.
You are welcome to join the session(s) you feel are most appropriate to you.
The sessions are confidential and any data collected will be anonymised. These session are open to all students.
The BME Officer is an elected student leader, voted in by the student body to represent the voices of Black and Ethnic Minority students at the University. The BME Officer is part of the Student Leadership Team, specifically the Voluntary Officer Team; a group of student representatives who carry out their role alongside their academic study. The BME Officer will lead on campaigns and projects throughout the Academic year to improve the experiences of BME students at Salford. Through actively collaborating with national movements and reflecting upon the objectives they were elected on in the Students' Union Election Week, they can create change on your campus.
To find out who your current BME Officer is and what their objectives are for the academic year, you can find their details at the Student Leadership Team page here.
If you are interested in the standing for the BME Officer position, our information on the Students' Union Elections is here.
The University has recognised that this issue needs to be tackled. The Union and University are jointly leading a project to tackle the awards gap.
This group has rejected a deficit approach to tackling the awards gap, it is the university not the students that are responsible for fixing this.
The group is focused on:
1) Decolonising the curriculum to ensure that the diversity of our students are represented in what they're taught.
2) Putting students voices at the centre of any actions being taken.
3) Understanding the data robustly, but not perpetually analysing this so that it leads to inaction.
The University has also signed up to the race equality charter and is committed to obtaining a bronze award. There are currently only 14 universities that have achieved this.
The causes of the ethnicity attainment gap are multifaceted and there are undoubtedly issues in wider society which are contributing to this. By better understanding the experiences of BME students on campus we are more likely to understand why this is happening.
The Union will take the results of this survey and will work together with BME students and the University to determine what actions can be taken in the short and long term at Salford to tackle this.
You can read much more about the ethnicity attainment gap using the resources available below