Developing diversity at the University of Birmingham

Odd One Out

In our last blog post we highlighted new research showing that black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) academics remain under-represented at senior levels in higher education – there are only 20 UK-born black and ethnic minority deputy or pro-vice-chancellors, compared with 530 white ones – and introduced our new Diversifying Academic Leadership Programme.

We’re also supporting an exciting Small Development Project at the University of Birmingham, the Aditi Leadership Programme, that will provide leadership development interventions with the aim of unlocking the potential of aspiring BAME leaders.

The University of Birmingham employs 1,013 staff (16%) from BAME backgrounds, substantially above the sector average of 10.3%. However, this is under representative of the BAME population in Birmingham and there is a clear trend of BAME staff representation decreasing as seniority increases.

Research and focus groups at the university revealed the need for tailored leadership programmes to develop aspiring BAME leaders. The programme that has been planned as a result will equip BAME staff for future leadership roles, providing them with a network and more visible profile in the university. It will also enable the university and the community to share skills and resources, and create future career pathways by demonstrating how the full range of diverse leadership talents can flourish. The project will identify and address any institutional factors that might impede the unlocking of leadership potential in BAME colleagues, which is of tangible benefit to other higher education institutions.

The programme will be blended, encompassing workshops, action learning sets, coaching, mentoring, online and other technological support, project work and secondments.

Each participant will compile a leadership portfolio, demonstrating a deep understanding of their unique talents and how they will use them. The programme will be outward facing and will engage with the local community through initiatives such as mentoring.

The programme has been tested in focus groups and the pilot programme (with 10 BAME staff) is due to conclude in March 2016, with a full roll out next summer.

If you would like to submit your application for our Small Development Projects, please click here. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 5 January 2016. 

The Birmingham cohort of the Diversifying Academic Leadership Programme is fully booked. There are spaces available on our London and Manchester cohorts. To find out more and book, click here.