Creation and Confidence
Sheffield Hallam University which has a larger than expected 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 and belonging of BME students; developing a scalable approach to building confidence and fostering belonging of all students; raising awareness of the need to think differently about explanations of BME underachievement.

In reality, the team found that the biggest barrier concerned staff engagement 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 elicit 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.

For more information, contact STEER Team