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No Black professors at Newcastle, findings suggest

Written by Editor's Picks, News

Fewer than three Black professors were in employment by Newcastle University last academic year, data shows. Further statistics suggest that the actual figure may be 0.

Statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that in the 2018/19 academic year, 445 professors were employed by the University, of which 400 were white, 20 Asian, 0 Black, 5 mixed, 15 unknown and 5 other. These figures were rounded to the nearest multiple of five, meaning that, if the 15 professors of unknown ethnicity are not taken into account, the University employed a maximum of two Black professors. According to the HESA data, 90% of all Newcastle professors were white.

In that year, across all universities in the North East (Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teesside and Northumbria), 5 Black professors were employed. Because of the rounding system used by HESA, this means, of a total of 965 professors hired by these five universities, only between three and seven were Black. Further information on the HESA website, however, suggests that these five Black professors were employed by Durham, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities (see below), suggesting that Newcastle and Teesside Universities both have no Black professors.

When looking into contract salaries of HE full-time professors in the North East in 2018/19 by ethnicity and the filter is set to Black, only Durham, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities appear, suggesting that neither Newcastle nor Teesside employed any Black professors.

Of a total of 6290 staff at Newcastle University in 2018/19, 45 were Black, representing only 0.7% of the workforce, despite making up 1.9% of the city’s population according to the most recent Census data. 30 of these were academic staff, with Black academic staff constituting approximately 1.1% of the University’s total academic staff.

Interestingly, the data by HESA shows that 16.3% of all white academic staff at the University that year were professors, compared to a maximum of 7.1% for Black academic staff if the number of Black professors is taken to be the highest possible value (two).

In some aspects, the diversity of Newcastle’s staff has increased over the past five years; while Black staff only constituted 0.5% of the University’s total staffing in the 2014/15 academic year, this increased to 0.7% in 2018/19. This, however, only equates to a difference of around 15 more Black employees, whereas the number of white staff has increased by approximately 190 over the same time period. At Durham University, however, the figure actually decreased, with the University having 95 fewer white staff members in 2018/19 but an increase in Asian employees of 50.

The figures at Newcastle, however, appear to follow a national pattern. HESA statistics show that the vast majority of UK universities only employed 0 to 2 Black professors in 2018/19, with only 20 universities employing three or more Black professors and none employing more than seven. In the North East, Sunderland University has the highest proportion of Black staff, with 3.48% of all staff self-identifying as Black, rising to 5.85% when only academic staff are considered. Conversely, the University of Sunderland has the lowest proportion of Asian academic staff in the region at 5.3% compared to 9.0% at Teesside University.

As part of the Freedom City legacy, Newcastle University committed to developing its EDI work in race equality. Newcastle University is a member of Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter, which helps institutions to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of staff and students from minority ethnic groups. The University has Race Equality Awareness Workshops for staff to strengthen their understanding of race equality and develop the skills for effective culture change. Furthermore, the University has an inclusive, cross-faculty BAME network which acts as a community of support and platform of institutional engagement for BAME staff and postgraduate researchers.

A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “We are committed to having a diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects the whole of society. The University is a member of the Race Equality Charter, and while we have made progress in ensuring greater diversity at all levels, we know there is more we can do. We are currently reviewing our recruitment processes including how we advertise vacancies to ensure we can attract diverse candidates, as well as continuing work to identify the barriers standing in the way of staff and students from minority ethnic groups.”

Last modified: 6th May 2020

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