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Race Equality Charter

Hands on a table

Durham University signed up to the Race Equality Charter (REC) in March 2019. The charter aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The REC framework steers universities to identify, reflect upon and address institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of minority ethnic staff and students.

This important work was led by a REC Self-Assessment Team (SAT) comprising of representatives from student, professional services staff and academic stakeholder groups. Following a critical analysis of data gathered from the REC survey and focus group findings along with an evaluation of relevant staff and student data, members of the REC SAT have co-developed an institutional REC Action Plan, which has undergone a comprehensive consultation process.

The REC action plan offers a clear framework to enable the University to build on our work around this area. It aligns with our Equality Objectives and complements the University’s internationalisation strategy for an improved experience for our international students and staff. It also supports our plans to attract, utilise and retain talented staff members of diverse backgrounds. The action plan also links with other shared institutional agendas such as widening participation, diversifying the curriculum, tackling racism, and promoting a culture of respect both within and beyond the boundaries of the institution.

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


REC Submission Update and Next Steps

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

Following an extensive review of our REC application and action plan, further revisions were incorporated into the submission, to ensure that:

  • the application data and narrative are linked to the action plan, demonstrating an evidence-based approach,
  • institutional commitment to drive the REC action plan delivery is clearly outlined
  • actions are targeted, streamlined, measurable and are aligned with other strategic initiatives.

As part of these enhancements, the REC action plan’s thematic areas have also been updated to ensure a more integrated approach, 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 REC process will not end upon submission of our application and action plan. Rather, it is a continuous change process of implementing the REC Action Plan and then monitoring progress and impact. The next stage of the process is the establishment of a governance structure to ensure accountability for delivering on the REC Action Plan. 

To support this, there will also be various engagement activities with staff and students at localised and departmental levels in the coming months.

A number of initiatives have been underway as part of our REC Action Plan. Examples of these can be viewed at DU REC update July 2022. 


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.


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