Systematic Review of Racism in UK Higher Education: Trends and Implications
"Understanding the trends and implications of racism in UK higher education is crucial for fostering inclusive environments and combating discrimination."
Racism in UK higher education has been an ongoing concern for many years (Arday & Mirza, 2018). Despite efforts to address the issue, racial disparities in academic achievement, progression, and experiences persist (Universities UK, 2019). To better understand the trends and implications of racism in UK higher education, this blog presents a systematic review of the literature on this topic. Systematic reviews provide a comprehensive and transparent approach to synthesizing research findings, making them an essential tool for informing policy and practice (Petticrew & Roberts, 2006).
A rigorous search strategy was employed to identify relevant studies on racism in UK higher education. Searches were conducted using electronic databases such as JSTOR, Scopus, and Web of Science. Inclusion criteria encompassed studies focusing on racial disparities in academic achievement, progression, and experiences of racism among students in UK higher education institutions. Data extraction and synthesis were performed using established systematic review methods (Higgins & Green, 2011). Quality assessment and risk of bias were evaluated using appropriate tools, such as the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklists (CASP UK, 2018).
III. Key Findings
The systematic review revealed several key findings regarding racism in UK higher education. Overt and covert racism were found to be prevalent in various forms, including microaggressions, racial slurs, and discriminatory practices (Crenshaw et al., 2019; Stevenson, 2012). Students of color were found to experience disparities in academic achievement and progression, with factors such as racial bias in grading and lack of representation in faculty contributing to these disparities (Bhopal, 2018; Rollock, 2019). Additionally, racism has been shown to have significant mental health impacts on students of color, including anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation (Carter et al., 2020; Wallace et al., 2019).
IV. Trends in Institutional Responses
In response to these findings, various initiatives have been implemented to address racism and promote diversity in UK higher education institutions. However, challenges and limitations persist, including tokenistic approaches, inadequate resources, and a lack of sustained commitment (Ahmed, 2012; Pilkington, 2018). Some institutions have adopted successful interventions, such as targeted mentorship programs, curriculum diversification, and anti-racism training (Thomas & Cudjoe, 2019; Universities UK, 2019).
V. Implications for Higher Education
The findings of this systematic review highlight the need for continued research and monitoring of racism in UK higher education. Institutions have a critical role in fostering inclusive environments that promote equity and challenge racism (Bhopal & Pitkin, 2020). Collaboration among stakeholders, including students, faculty, and policymakers, is essential in addressing these issues effectively (Pilkington, 2018).
VI. Recommendations for Future Research and Practice
Future research should focus on expanding our understanding of racism in UK higher education and developing evidence-based interventions to address this issue. Evaluating the effectiveness of current initiatives and sharing best practices can help inform the development of more effective strategies (Universities UK, 2019). Additionally, higher education institutions should prioritize creating inclusive environments that challenge racism and promote equity for all students (Bhopal & Pitkin, 2020).
Addressing racism in UK higher education is a pressing concern with significant implications for students, institutions, and society as a whole. Systematic reviews and research play a vital role in informing policy and practice, ensuring that higher education institutions are equipped to tackle these issues effectively. Continued efforts to promote equity and inclusivity in higher education are essential to ensure that all students have
Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and diversity in institutional life. Duke University Press.
Arday, J., & Mirza, H. S. (Eds.). (2018). Dismantling race in higher education: Racism, whiteness and decolonising the academy. Palgrave Macmillan.
Bhopal, K. (2018). White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society. Policy Press.
Bhopal, K., & Pitkin, C. (2020). Understanding and addressing ethnic disparities in higher education: A case study of a university in England. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 22(1), 7-28.
Carter, R. T., Lau, M. Y., Johnson, V., & Kirkinis, K. (2020). Racial discrimination and health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 48(1), 2-19.
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Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G., & Thomas, K. (Eds.). (2019). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. The New Press.
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Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences: A practical guide. Blackwell Publishing.
Pilkington, A. (2018). The interacting dynamics of institutional racism in higher education. Race Ethnicity and Education, 21(4), 540-559.
Rollock, N. (2019). Staying power: The career experiences and strategies of UK Black female professors. University and College Union.
Stevenson, J. (2012). Black and minority ethnic student degree retention and attainment. Higher Education Academy.
Thomas, L., & Cudjoe, D. (2019). The Black attainment gap: Making sense of race, class and universities. The Sociological Review Monographs, 67(5), 1047-1066.
Universities UK. (2019). Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged. https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2019/tackling-racial-harassment-universities-challenged.pdf
Wallace, S., Nazroo, J., & Bécares, L. (2019). Cumulative effect of racial discrimination on the mental health of ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Public Health, 109(7), 1025-1030.