Pascale Allotey arrived at Brunel University from Melbourne last December to take up the newly created post of professor of race and diversity.
Professor Allotey is a medical anthropologist and public health specialist, with research ranging from refugee health and human rights to children's health. She is developing a research programme in culture, race and diversity within the new public health programme in the School of Health and Social Care.
It was vital that black and minority ethnic staff were properly represented in senior university posts, she said. "We bring an important perspective and can act as role models."
Professor Allotey's perspective is very much that of an Australian fresh to the UK. "I am struck by the degree of segregation on campus," she says. "In the dining hall, Asians tend to sit on one table, the whites on another and black students on another."
She has received a grant from the university for a project that will include photos of how students mix on campus.
"For example, we have a range of social work students, and the impact of religion on social issues is often skated over. How would a Muslim or a Christian social worker deal with a gay couple?Such issues need to be confronted."