In the pipeline

September 1, 2016

Bugewa Apampa is right to underline the need for more leaders from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in academia (“Black female professor feels role models ‘required’ for BME students”, News, 16 August). However, more needs to be done to establish and improve pathways for BME students into early career positions, above and beyond improving diversity in the senior leadership ranks.

At GSM London, where 95 per cent of students come from a BME background, a Teaching Fellow Programme was piloted in 2014. This brought two graduates into full-time work on an 18-month contract, combining on-the-job training in teaching and learning, mentoring and coaching support and study towards a postgraduate teaching qualification.

From the pilot with just two teaching fellows, the programme has grown to eight per year, with successful graduates in permanent employment in teaching roles at GSM London and elsewhere. That the scheme is now oversubscribed and requires a competitive application process highlights the demand among BME students for clear entry pathways into academia.

For a more diverse academic leadership in future, it is essential to invest in the pipeline now. Our focus should be not just on diversity in leadership, but also on creating pathways into academia that are supportive of all students, no matter their background.

Christy Traore
Executive dean and pro-provost (academic delivery), GSM London

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