Over the past seven years, Student Success has been an important intermediary between the student collective and the institution, and our team is committed to improving outcomes for students through transformational research. Our purpose as researchers is to improve the University’s understanding of the differences in attainment with a particular focus on ethnic minority students. In doing this, we take inspiration from the educational sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, and the anti-racist scholarship associated with Critical Race Theory (CRT).  

We are active listeners to the student voice using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods including survey questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups. Through our research we have identified key trends and issues relating to academic support, entry qualifications, commuting, and belongingness. The team is also committed to developing tools and processes to promote inclusive curricula across the University, and we have collaborated with students and staff to develop the award-winning, TASO partner-funded Diversity Mark project.  

Equipped with knowledge and expertise in equity and progression, our time is dedicated to challenging and questioning the processes and structures within the University to ensure that they do not disadvantage our students.  To this end, we are currently working on a three-year longitudinal project that follows the life of 27 Academic Excellence Scholarship undergraduates. We are also conducting research relating to differential access and participation for BAME students at postgraduate level in the call to fix the so-called ‘broken pipeline’. 

As part of the Living Black working group we are researching into the experience of Black students living on Kent campus accommodation and whether their experiences of living on campus and their level of sense of belonging has an impact on their degree outcome.

Through qualitative research we are investigating the effectiveness of our BAME scholarships offered to those from African or Black/ Mixed Caribbean heritage to further understand how we can support these students wanting to study a Master’s degree at Kent.

Disseminating our research is critical to effective student outcomes, and we continue to present our findings and recommendations to a number of networks and committees within the University, including Council, Senate, Education Board, and EDI Operations Group. Our team also works closely with SSPSSR’s  Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Belonging Study Group, and UELT’s  Centre for the Study of Higher Education. Our co-edited book called Race, Capital and Equity in Higher Education: Challenging differential academic attainment in UK universities is based on Student Success Research for Palgrave Macmillan and is due out for publication in 2024.

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