Our client was a leading specialist university with a highly diverse community.
The university had committed to becoming an anti-racist institution following internal and external scrutiny over past efforts. Despite having an very diverse community, the university recognised that students and staff experienced racism.
With our support, senior leaders wanted to understand those experiences better in order to design a new Head of Equity and Inclusion position and to establish organisational change principles to reduce inequity.
A diverse Nous team conducted an institution-wide listening exercise to understand and improve the experiences of students and staff of colour. We used a trauma-informed approach, that emphasised safety (physical, psychological and emotional) and helped rebuild a sense of empowerment in those who had experienced trauma. At each stage we emphasised the process’ confidentiality.
Our trauma-informed approach involved:
The exercise identified incidences of racism and highlighted challenges for the institution to address. We used journey maps to visualise challenges students and staff of colour experience during their engagement with the university.
These helped communicate experiences of bias and inequity and focused attention on the actions needed to reduce racial inequalities. We also provided insights from across higher education to help the university understand what progress toward becoming an anti-racist institution might look like.
Our recommendations, which have been accepted, will help the university in its drive to be anti-racist. Recommendations included
We are supporting the university to implement our recommendations.