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News and updates from the Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange at University of the Arts London


Eliminating Inequalities: Staff and students working in partnership to tackle differential outcomes

Changing Mindsets Project Consortium Symposium, Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), February 2019

Vikki Hill, Educational Developer – Attainment (Identity and Cultural Experience), UAL

This symposium featured presentations of emerging findings from the quantitative and qualitative data collected so far across the project partnership, as well as presentations focused on the different approaches each of the four partner institutions has taken to enabling staff and students to work in partnership to tackle inequalities. A student panel discussion explored the question: “What should “working in partnership” look like in practice?” from the students’ perspectives.* 

Changing Mindsets is one of 17 Catalyst, OfS funded projects that aim to address the inequalities experienced by students of colour of degree outcome, student experience, retention, progression, academic attainment and employability. This aligns with UALs KPI “by 2022 the percentage of first degree home BAME students achieving a first or 2:1 will be the same as for first degree home white students.”  At UAL the project has evolved to become Creative Mindsets.

In this consortium project, which is led by the University of Portsmouth, each of the 4 institutions has worked in partnership with students to develop and deliver a workshop-based intervention to build growth mindsets, the belief that ability develops through effort (Dweck, 2000), in both students and staff (avoiding a student deficit model) and to reduce stereotype threat (Osborne & Walker, 2006) and implicit bias (Staats, 2014, Devine et al, 2012) as barriers to learning.


The event began with a presentation by Dr Jessica Gagnon, Senior Research Fellow from the University of Portsmouth who gave an informative overview of the project, initial findings and where to go next. The day consisted of presentations across the partnership, from each institution, from the student panel and a keynote from Ilyas Nagdee, the NUS Black Students’ Officer and offered a space to share good practice and consider the implications for further practice and policy.

Slide from presentation "we wanted the worksops to be inclusive and co-construct knowledge"
Slide from Vikki Hill’s presentation to the symposium

The UAL Creative Mindsets Team co-facilitated over 60 workshops from October-December 2018 and worked with almost 1,400 students and 100 members of staff. In the UAL Creative Mindsets: Modelling mindsets through co-production, Vikki Hill, UAL Educational Developer, presented how the team was trained in project theory and pedagogy; the operational support for delivery; the challenges faced throughout the project and next steps.

*Description courtesy of the SRHE.   Detailed information about the event can be found on the SRHE website.

You can download presentations from the event as follows:

Change in Progress: Project overview, initial findings, and where we go from here
Dr Jessica Gagnon, University of Portsmouth

The value of Learner Analytics: Lessons learned from the Changing Mindsets Project
Juan Batley and Dr Jessica Gagnon, University of Portsmouth

Facilitating Partnerships: Using Mindset Principles to support collaboration
Catherine McConnell and Jenny Terry, University of Brighton

The multiple partnerships in Changing Mindsets delivery
Laura Watson, University of Winchester

The final project report will be published in June 2019 on the completion of the funded project.


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