Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Liberalism and race equality in higher education: The shift from the mandatory to the persuasive
Andrew Pilkington, Melanie Crofts

Last modified: 29-05-2017



This paper examines a twenty year period to explore the salience of race equality in higher education in the UK. While research evidence accumulates to demonstrate that staff and students from minority ethnic groups continue to experience considerab;e disadvantage, universities throughout the period have typically remained remarkably complacent. Such complacency partly stems from the dominance in the academy of a liberal as opposed to radical pperspective on equality. Universities typically see themselves as liberal and believe existing policies ensure fairness and in the propcess ignore adverse outcomes and do not see combating racial inequalities as a prioroty. The paper distinguishes two ideal typical approaches, the 'mandatory' and the   'persuasive' to the promotion of race equality and suggests that the period has witnessed the transition along a continuum from the mandatory to the persuasive. Regardless of which approach is preferred, universities are urged to have no truck with a deficit model and to see it as their responsibility to ensure more equitable outcomes.

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