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Race Equality Charter

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Durham University signed up to the Race Equality Charter (REC) in March 2019. The charter aims to improve the representation, progression and success of racially minoritised communities within higher education. At Durham, the REC framework has helped us identify, reflect upon and address institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of our racially minoritised staff and students.

The University's REC application for a Bronze Award was submitted to Advance HE at the end of May 2022; and an award has been conferred in July 2022.

REC Action Plan (2022-2025)

Following a critical analysis of data gathered from our REC survey and focus group sessions along with an evaluation of staff and student data, we have co-developed an institutional REC Action Plan to address the identified racial disparities and issues.  The action plan has undergone a comprehensive consultation process and features five key thematic areas, as follows:

  1. Promote an anti-racist culture and educate students and staff on racial and intercultural issues
  2. Tackle racism and enhance mental health support and pastoral care provision for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and student communities, both UK and non-UK
  3. Diversify staff and leadership
  4. Accelerate and improve support for BAME staff career progression (academic and professional services staff)
  5. Increase UK-domiciled BAME student representation, improve the wider student experience of both UK and non-UK BAME students and embed race equality into teaching and learning

The University's REC Action Plan can be accessed here: Durham University Race Equality Charter Action Plan 2022-2025. The action plan links with other shared institutional agendas such as the global strategy, widening participation, diversifying the curriculum, tackling racism, and promoting a culture of respect both within and beyond the boundaries of the institution.

It is important to note that the REC process is a continuous change process of implementing the REC Action Plan and then monitoring progress and impact. To support this, the Race Equality Charter Action Plan (RECAP) Delivery Group has been established in March 2023 to ensure accountability for implementing the REC Action Plan (learn more about the group through the REC Hub). 

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Staff and students can visit our Race Equality Charter Hub to learn more about the REC framework and our ongoing work on this area. The REC Hub features:

  • News and updates on our REC Action Plan progress
  • Information on our Race Equality Charter Action Plan (RECAP) Delivery Group
  • REC process, milestones and various race equality resources

REC Survey

A Race Equality Charter Survey was conducted in January 2020, this allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of workplace and student cultures at Durham University, and to provide a benchmark against which to measure progress. Findings have informed both the REC application and the development of a race equality action plan which we will use to systematically and sustainably improve race equality at Durham. 

We are very grateful to all the staff and students who took part in the survey and focus group sessions, and to all REC SAT members who volunteered their time to analyse the data and to facilitate the focus group activity that has informed the findings. Staff and students can view the highlights of our REC survey findings in the Race Equality Charter Hub.


REC Mid-Process Review

To identify areas of potential progress and success (or impact) against REC actions so far, as well as any need for adaptations to the REC Action Plan, we are undertaking a mid-process review (of quantitative and qualitative data) in 2024.

Data collection for the review is in progress. The recent EDI Staff and Student Survey (2024) findings will allow us to benchmark and measure progress against our REC actions and will provide rich insights into the lived experience of our staff and student communities. More updates will be shared via the University's REC Hub.


A note on terminology in relation to race and ethnicity

Whilst we have used the acronym BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) in our REC data analyses and application, we do recognise the complexities of using a reductionist term to describe a population that is highly diverse and that has varying experiences and outcomes within higher education and society in general. Where possible and relevant, we have disaggregated our staff and student data. 

We continue to work with our racially minoritised communities as we refine our approach to writing about ethnicity and race. This guidance document aims to help Durham University staff and students to have a more informed decision in using race-related terminologies for various contexts.

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