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Research Case studies

Improving the Degree Attainment of Black and Minority Ethnic Students


Improving the Degree Attainment of Black and Minority Ethnic Students.


Jacqueline Stevenson and John Willott contributed to the seminal Equality Challenge Unit/Higher Education Academy Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project. Along with other colleagues across the university, Jacqueline Stevenson then participated in the ECU/HEA funded national project researching differentials in degree attainments between different ethnic groups. Participation in the programme was designed to reduce this gap, focussing primarily on students undertaking 'professional' courses such as Law, Social Work and Accountancy.

The team worked with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) student researchers to explore, qualitatively, BME students' rationales for undertaking their respective courses, how they imagine their future 'possible selves', their understanding of the labour market they intend to enter post-graduation and their experiences of issues around equality and discrimination. They also undertook an image analysis and a documentary analysis and delivered a series of staff focus groups analysing and exploring findings from the research.

Jacqueline Stevenson continued this work with the HEA by acting as the lead researcher.

Key papers:

Willott. J. and Stevenson. J. (2008). “Degree attainment, ethnicity and gender: surveying policies and practices in English HEIs”, Higher Education Academy. Available on-line here.

students who have just graduated

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