Creation and confidence: BME students as academic partners…but where were the staff?

JONES-DEVITT, Stella, AUSTEN, Liz, CHITWOOD, Elizabeth, DONNELLY, Alan, FEARN, Carolyn, HEATON, Caroline, LATHAM, Gabrielle, LEBIHAN, Jill, MIDDLETON, Andrew, MORGAN, Matthew, PARKIN, Helen and PICKERING, Nathaniel (2017). Creation and confidence: BME students as academic partners…but where were the staff? Journal of Educational Innovation Partnership and Change, 3 (1), 278-285.

580-2930-1-PB.pdf - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (310kB) | Preview
Official URL:


This Case Study documents the REACT project 'Creation and Confidence' based at Sheffield Hallam University, which has a larger-than-expected Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) attainment gap; hence, this student group has been constructed as 'hard to reach'. The project team consisted of a range of academic and professional services staff alongside three dedicated student researchers. The project set out to achieve: gaining evidence-based insights into the use of co-design and peer-learning as conduits of confidence-building for and belonging of BME students; developing a scalable approach to building confidence for and fostering belonging of all students; raising awareness of the need to think differently about explanations for BME underachievement. In reality, the team found that staff engagement constituted the biggest barrier, as - no matter how much incontrovertible evidence was presented - other facets of institutional provision were always identified as having priority, which resulted in inertia. This study documents the emotional labour of trying to effect change within a resistant culture. Whilst some of the aims remain unachieved – and, arguably, were always going to be unachievable - there have been some very positive developments and enlightening lessons.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: BME attainment gap
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Student Engagement, Evaluation and Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 278-285
Depositing User: Liz Austen
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2017 15:34
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:01

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics