University leaders from across the country to celebrate ground-breaking Decolonising DMU programme


Close to 300 university academics and education leaders have signed up for an event at De Montfort University Leicester to celebrate Decolonising DMU – a programme that’s dismantling racist barriers and structures so that all staff and students can thrive.

Decolonising DMU, which has been running for four years, provided the framework for the university’s submission to the Race Equality Charter (REC).

DECOLONISING team photo

In April this year, DMU became the only institution in the UK to receive a silver award in the REC, a programme run by Advance HE, which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of ethnically minoritised students and staff within higher education. The team has also been recognised nationally, winning the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) from higher education charity Advance HE.

The leader of the Decolonising DMU program, Kaushika Patel, is delighted her team’s work was rewarded with the silver award, making DMU the highest ranked university in the UK.

But she states that the showcase on Wednesday 8 November called Reimagining Higher Education: Journeys of Decolonising aims to support other universities' work towards bronze, silver or gold REC awards saying ‘we should not be the only university in the country with a silver award’.

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Speakers and presenters at the event come from institutions across the country including Manchester Met, the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes and the University of London. 

Kaushika said: “The team at DMU did an incredible job with the REC Silver Award but while Decolonising DMU has been running for the past four years we have also been able to present our findings and discuss best practice at 17 other UK universities via 54 different events.  

“So, I am incredibly proud of the collaborative nature that has seen our team work hard to enable students and staff across the university engage with, and influence how, we make our university anti-racist.

“But I am also incredibly proud of the way the team has spoken with other universities and seen them take on board what we do and then develop these practices to suit the needs of their institutions.

“Moving forward I’d like to encourage and support every university to work towards a bronze, silver or gold for their institution and this conference provides a platform for universities to share their experiences and good practice.

“Listening to Jason Arday, Professor at the University of Cambridge, he used a good analogy which I think can apply to DMU and the REC Silver Award.

“Jason said that with all his success, as the youngest black professor in the country, he sees himself standing at the top of the mountain.

“But when he looks aroundthere are very few other people who look like him.

“He emphasises he does not want to be the only one there. He wants to see more people who look like him joining him at the top of that mountain

“That is how I feel about Decolonising DMU and our REC silver award. We should not be the only university in the UK with that silver award. We want more people to join us.”

Reimagining Higher Education: Journeys of Decolonising takes place on Wednesday 8 November. You can find out more about the event and book a place by visiting the event page here.

 

Posted on Monday 6th November 2023

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