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BME Attainment faculty leads appointed

4 July 2018

Leads from eight faculties take up key roles to support staff in achieving the creation of an inclusive environment at UCL, both academically and socially.

UCL staff in discussions at a workshop

The roles have been created as part of the BME Attainment project and will run initially for one year.

The BME Attainment Faculty Leads are:

  • Darren Nesbeth, Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  • Dewi Lewis, Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
  • Parama Chaudhury, Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  • Prince Saprai, Faculty of Laws
  • Christine Callender, IOE
  • Alvena Kureshi, Faculty of Medical Sciences 
  • Lasana Harris, Faculty of Brain Sciences
  • Charmian Dawson, Faculty of Life Sciences

A key leadership role

The faculty leads will work with the project team in this newly created role to:

  • lead improvements across faculties and within programmes
  • disseminate relevant data and good practice
  • support staff in achieving the creation of an inclusive environment 
  • consult with BME students and staff from the faculty and where necessary, carry out qualitative research within the faculty with regards to BME student experience
  • undertake the Inclusive Curriculum Health Check (pdf) to identify the current position with regards to BME attainment and support the work done in faculties to provide an inclusive curriculum in their programmes.

Thoughts from the new Faculty Leads

Lasana Harris, Senior Lecturer, Experimental Psychology 

“I am interested in changing the culture regarding the achievement gap and any UCL issues related to human difference.” 

Dr Parama Chaudhury, Principal Teaching Fellow, Department of Economics

“I have a professional interest in discrimination having taught courses on discrimination and also being currently involved in a research project looking at outcome gaps based on background characteristics (household and school characteristics as well as race and ethnicity). On top of this, UCL's foundation as the first English university to admit women and non-Christians is a great history to build on, to make sure that we provide equal opportunity to students (and staff) from different backgrounds, thereby enriching everyone's experience.”

Dr Prince Saprai, Senior Lecturer, UCL Faculty of Laws

"I’m delighted to have been appointed to this new and important initiative. Important in the sense not only of closing the BME student attainment gap, but also more broadly creating an inclusive environment and curriculum for all of our students. This is an invaluable opportunity to begin to rethink and redefine the values that binds us together as a scholarly community.”

Charmian Dawson, Faculty of Life Sciences

“I care a great deal about UCL’s commitment to equality and diversity and the well-being of our students. I am really excited about the opportunity to be involved in a project with such potential for a positive influence on student lives and their future success. 

My experiences of studying and working at UCL have been wonderful, and I would like to contribute to making sure that all students, regardless of their differences, get the most out of their time here.”

Alvena Kureshi, Lecturer, Medical Sciences and Engineering

“I am looking forward to starting this new role as Faculty BME Lead. This important project is part of a 3-year HEFCE funded consortium that will address the disparities in attainment and experience of BME and white undergraduate students. I will work closely with the Faculty Education Team to implement new initiatives, disseminate data and good practice and support staff in achieving the creation of an inclusive academic and social environment. This aligns with UCL’s strategy to completely eliminate the BME attainment gap across our institution and will bring about a positive change for BME students.”

Christine Callender, Lecturer in Education, UCL Institute of Education

“My interests in race, equality and diversity are integral to my role as a teacher educator and to my research.  I am keen to be involved in finding institutional-level solutions to the BME Attainment Gap and in creating the conditions where BME students can achieve, flourish and grow academically. I see this role as aligned to and an extension of my role as the departmental DEOLO where, in response to Internal Quality Review I am working with the SLT to evaluate and improve the outcomes and progression of BME staff and students.” 

The BME Attainment project at UCL

UCL is undertaking a three-year project to address the disparities in attainment and experience of BME and white students at UCL. 

The project will run alongside UCL’s participation in a HEFCE funded consortium project led by Kingston University, which will use a value added metric and an inclusive curriculum framework to address the BME attainment gap.

A fully-subscribed conference in April launched the project with Provost Michael Arthur stating that an “attainment gap at UCL is unacceptable”.