How did the work impact me? Reflections of the researchers and facilitators of BME success projects


  • Helen Catherine Barefoot University of Hertfordshire
  • Nathan Ghann University of Hertfordshire
  • Judy St John University of Hertfordshire
  • Amanda Yip University of Hertfordshire



BME, Narrative, Critical Incident


Programme leaders and members of programme teams attended inclusive teaching workshops focused on race equality. After the workshops, programme leaders were interviewed to discuss how they were going to implement inclusive practice enhancements. The core team who facilitated the workshops and conducted the interviews reflected on their experiences of leading change associated with reducing the BME attainment gap. Considering a critical incident which they’d experienced during the workshop or during the interviews, they each wrote personal narratives to explore emotions which the incident had stimulated as well as consideration of how they’d responded at the time and what they could have done differently. The four narratives were considered to identify key themes. Two common themes identified were the stimulation of negative emotions (e.g. anger) and the inability to challenge comments and stereotyping assumptions at the time of the incident. Considering the results in light of literature associated with staff development, the use of personal narrative and leading diversity related change, in addition to autoethnographical thoughts associated with the authors’ own experiences of race, racism and privilege, five recommendations for colleagues involved in race-related staff development were identified.

Author Biographies

Helen Catherine Barefoot, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Helen Barefoot is the Deputy Director of the Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre (LTIC) where she leads continuing professional development (CPD) for academic staff. Her research is centred on inclusive teaching and student success. With a specific interest in reducing the attainment gap between White and Black and minority Ethnic (BME) students, Helen works to improve policies, processes and teaching practices.

Nathan Ghann, University of Hertfordshire

Nathan Ghann is the Student Transformation Lead in Hertfordshire Business School and co-chair of the University’s BME staff network. Nathan leads the race equality work within the Business School and as a key member of the BME student success working group has co-designed and co-facilitated the inclusive practice workshops for staff from all Schools within the University.

Judy St John, University of Hertfordshire

Judy St John is the Programme Leader for the University of Hertfordshire’s Joint Honours programme. As the most complex programme with the University, Judy works with staff and students in all academic schools and draws on her comprehensive understanding of quality assurance and quality enhancement processes. Judy works with programme leaders to stimulate critical reflection on their practice and to consider the inclusivity of their programmes. As a leader of race equality within the University, Judy is core member of the BME staff network, the BME student success working group and has presented Institutional approaches to reduce the attainment gap on behalf of the University.

Amanda Yip, University of Hertfordshire

Amanda Yip is a Learning and Teaching Specialist within the University’s Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre (LTIC). Amanda works with staff from all academic schools to enable their continuing professional development (CPD). Amanda’s expertise is within curriculum design and specifically the design of inclusive curricula. She is also currently researching the specific challenges facing commuting students and working to improve logistical processes within the University (e.g. timetables, transport and accommodation options) to improve the experiences for these students. 


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