Introduction

In January 2018 Imperial became a member of the Race Equality Charter (REC). This is a national scheme aiming to advance the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students in UK higher education. The College has committed to undertaking a thorough self-assessment to understand the lived experiences of our minority ethnic staff and students, exploring how race and racism operate within our cultures and structures, and developing an ambitious action plan to bring about change.

As part of this self-assessment we conducted surveys in October and November 2018, and would now like to follow up on the results of that survey to further explore the findings and develop our key priorities and actions. We have commissioned an external consultant, Claire Herbert, to undertake focus groups and interviews for us, to ensure confidentiality and impartiality.

How you can get involved

We want to hear from staff and students, regardless of ethnicity or background, to both explore further the issues you see and experience within the College and to develop actions and solutions. To take part in a focus group or arrange an interview (face to face or by telephone), please email Claire Herbert claire@advancing-EDI.com, with your preferred times from the dates listed below. 

Please complete the REC confidentiality agreement (Word) and return it in advance of the interview or focus group. If you have any access needs, then please let us know and we can make necessary arrangements.

For more information about what the focus groups and interviews will cover, please read the discussion areas for staff (pdf) and the discussion areas for students (pdf)

Interview slots will be allocated on a first-come first served basis, so it may be worth having a second-choice option in case your first choice has already been booked. Please note that you can book into sessions on any of the days, you do not need to be based on the campus specified.

More information about focus groups and interviews

About the focus groups

A focus group provides a safe space for a group of people to discuss specific topics and issues. There will be a maximum of 15 people in the focus group, and everyone will be asked to complete a confidentiality form, agreeing not to disclose the details of the participants or conversations.

The focus group will be led by an external facilitator who will ensure everyone has a chance to input into the conversation, and to take notes to pull together the key themes and ideas to take forward. No one else at Imperial will know who has participated other than the participants and the external facilitator.

Having consulted with staff and students, and based on the feedback we have had in the survey we have taken the decision to make the focus groups open to any staff member or student, regardless of their ethnicity (although we are running separate sessions for staff and students). Changing the cultural and structural barriers facing minority ethnic staff and students is the responsibility of the whole institution, and we need to be able to engage in race-specific conversations to be able to move things forward.

About the interviews

In addition to the focus groups, 1-2-1 interviews are available for people who would rather not, or who are unable to attend a focus group.

The interviews can be face-to-face or by telephone, and can be booked as half hour sessions, as per the information below. The interviews offer an alternative way to input into the discussion, and will be conducted by an external consultant, ensuring confidentiality.

What happens next?

The Race Equality Charter (REC) self-assessment team will be sent a fully anonymised summary of the discussions, highlighting key trends and issues, and hopefully, ideas for change. All focus group and interview participants will also receive a copy of that report.

The self-assessment team will use the report to develop the College's REC application and action plan, which will be submitted in July 2020.

If you would like to discuss anything related to race equality at Imperial, please contact Sally Parekh, Imperial's REC Coordinator.

Dates for focus groups and interviews
DateCampusInterviews slotsFocus group times
 Tuesday 15 October  St Mary's

 09.30-10.00 

 10.15-10.45

 11.00-11.30

 Focus group for students: 12.00-13.00

 Focus group for staff: 15.00-16.30

 Thursday 17 October  South Kensington

 14.00-14.30

 14.45-15.15

 15.30-16.00

 Focus group for staff: 12.00-13.30

 Focus group for staff: 10.00-11.30

 Thursday 31 October  South Kensington

 14.00-14.30

 14.45-15.15

 15.30-16.00

 Focus group for students: 12.00-13.00

 Focus group for staff: 10.00-11.30

 Thursday 13 November  Hammersmith

 09.30-10.00

 10.15-10.45

 11.00-11.30

 Focus group for students: 12.00-13.00

 Focus group for staff: 15.00-16.30

Please email the indepedent consultant claire@advancing-EDI.com to take part in a focus group or interview.
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