Universities Scotland

Race Equality Toolkit

Learning and Teaching

Institutional Actions

#1Leadership and management responsibility

Taking forward race equality in learning and teaching in a systematic and considered way requires support at institutional level.

In order that universities comply with race equality legislation, it is necessary to ensure that in carrying out their functions they have “due regard” to the need (as per the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000) to

However, promoting race equality is also part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and an institution’s governance and management boards should help to ensure that equality becomes part of delivering for excellence and enhancing quality. Impact assessment, ethnic monitoring and on-going policy-practice development are key components in assuring institutional support for race equality, across the board.

The Macpherson Report on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry highlighted the need for all institutions to be mindful of race equality matters. The report asked institutions to consider their practices in a robust manner to counter any possibility of institutional racism. The report defined institutional racism as

…the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people. It persists because of the failure of the organisation openly and adequately to recognise and address its existence and causes by policy, example and leadership.

Macpherson, W. (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, London: Stationery Office, Chapter 6, para. 6:34

Many of the strategies offered in this Toolkit will assist individual lecturers and departments to consider issues of race equality more systematically in relation to learning, teaching and assessment. However, lecturers and departments need support at institutional level. Such leadership and support at institutional level is needed to

The next section asks some questions that each institution can use as a self-evaluation checklist to ensure that race equality matters are mainstreamed into learning, teaching and assessment. There are other key functions of the university such as research, provision of student support, accommodation and catering services, where there will also be a need to examine how race equality issues feature.