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Are there any afro-caribbean tutors at Oxbridge?

(16 Posts)
crystalglasses Fri 10-Dec-10 20:09:36

Never mind the representation of black students at Oxbridge, what about the tutors? I've worked in both places and can't remember seeing an afro-caribbean tutor at either.

Is it because afro-caribbean academics don't want to work at a top UK university, or is it inherent bias in the job selection process?

CP019 Sat 11-Dec-10 21:16:53

Wouldn't this be explained by academic results more than anything? socialconsequences.pdf

hester Sat 11-Dec-10 21:44:02

I don't know the answer. But I do know that my SIL, who is Afro Caribbean, went to Oxbridge and is now a professor at a top university in the US. She is an amazing high flyer, but simply didn't get the breaks here. Whereas a number of US universities very actively wooed her. I very much doubt she would have enjoyed the same success if she had stayed in this country. Which is really sad.

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 11-Dec-10 21:53:20

I don't know but I used to know one of the few Afro-Caribbean woman profs in the country and she was treated very badly at a couple of institutions she worked at; senior men assuming she was a cleaner happened with disturbing regularity angry

the first time she went to Senate at the university where I knew her (which is generally seen as one of the most inclusive in the country hmm) one of the men there said 'This is Senate, dear' - as if the only possible reason for her being in the room was that she didn't realise what was going on

angry angry angry

this is not a proper answer to OP's question but it is a way of saying, I suspect the answer is not very many.

Notquitegrownup Sat 11-Dec-10 21:59:12

Only know one or two departments at Oxford, but there are two I can think of. Guess that is approx 2%

blushington Sat 11-Dec-10 22:01:08

A couple, but there's not many at other universities either

CP019 Sat 11-Dec-10 22:18:03

*Whereas a number of US universities very actively wooed her.***

US universities are very concerned with racial bean counting. You see this also in their affirmative action policies which handicap white students and particularly asian students.

"US News: ... Translating the advantages into SAT scores, study author Thomas Espenshade, a Princeton sociologist, calculated that African-Americans who achieved 1150 scores on the two original SAT tests had the same chances of getting accepted to top private colleges in 1997 as whites who scored 1460s and Asians who scored perfect 1600s.

Espenshade found that when comparing applicants with similar grades, scores, athletic qualifications, and family history for seven elite private colleges and universities:

Whites were three times as likely to get fat envelopes as Asians. Hispanics were twice as likely to win admission as whites. African-Americans were at least five times as likely to be accepted as whites." ction-numbers.html

blushington Sat 11-Dec-10 22:20:44

The fact that she was so popular with American universities may be something to do with the subject of her research? Of course I have no idea what it is, but some things aren't bothered with much in the UK but very much in vogue in the US. So it may have been nothing to do with race

hester Sun 12-Dec-10 00:06:04

I'm not saying she was definitely held back by her race. These things are never that cut and dried, are they? All I can say, in response to CP019, is that 'racial bean counting' is not an issue when universities are headcounting top-flight academics from across the world. Rightly or wrongly, US academia is way more entrenepeneurial than the UK in this respect. And, in response to blushington, the subject of her research is cutting edge clinical research that is getting published in Nature, that gets her flown all round the world to present her emerging findings etc. Regardless of what is in vogue, the UK can ill afford to lose people like her. But it has, and probably will continue to.

Because she's black? Or because of lazier talent management? Or other factors altogether? Who knows? All I know is that my SIL is not a complainer or a tub-thumper, she is far more interested in tormenting fruit flies than in even thinking about equality and diversity issues. But she is quietly certain that, as a black woman, the UK was not the best place to realise her talents. And if women like her believe that, then UK academia need to take the concern seriously.

hester Sun 12-Dec-10 00:07:47

Oh, and following seth's point, my dp is also an academic, and is also wearily accustomed to being handed coats or asked for coffee.

crystalglasses Sun 12-Dec-10 01:03:10

It may be a chicken and egg situation but maybe there is a correlation between the number of black students at Oxbridge and the number of black tutors, bearing in mind the powerful postion tutors hold in the selection process.

CP019 Sun 12-Dec-10 06:38:52

*All I can say, in response to CP019, is that 'racial bean counting' is not an issue when universities are headcounting top-flight academics from across the world.***

That may be so, but in US universities there is definitely pressure to increase the number of black or hispanic staff (presumably at the expense of Asian, jewish or other europeans). In terms of MIT's hiring, they are actively trying to address this:

"Underrepresented minority hires are sought by MIT. Nearly 80 percent of white and Asian faculty members applied for their positions without being specifically recruited, but only 37 percent of underrepresented minority faculty reported that they were not recruited."

hildathebuilder Sun 12-Dec-10 06:59:14

I know one at Cambridge and I'm not an academic, but he's a friend

crazyspaniel Tue 14-Dec-10 21:54:35

I don't think this is a problem which is exclusive to Oxbridge. I work at a Russell Group university and can only think of one Afro-Caribbean academic here (and this is somewhere that actually has a centre for Caribbean studies). I can't think of any at the last university I was at.

kritur Thu 16-Dec-10 21:09:36

I have had the Oxford report that challenges the headlines about poor representation of the BME students in my email inbox. It makes very interesting reading and I am fairly sure that the under representation is not because of bias but because of a number of more complicated reasons including BME students not applying, those applying tending to apply for the most competititve courses at Oxford eg, medicine, PPE so their chance of getting in is lower and relatively poor attainment especially at GCSE compared to other candidates. I would therefore be unsurprised that there would be few BME academics at Oxford since they do have a hait of hiring their own back again once they've gone through the cycle of PhD, post-doc and early academic years. What we need to look at is why BME students aren't achieving the necessary results to get into top universities and then take that further and become academics. I don't believe someone should receive a lower offer because they are BME, the answer lies in the family and the school system.

CP019 Sun 19-Dec-10 06:08:39

*What we need to look at is why BME students aren't achieving the necessary results to get into top universities and then take that further and become academics. *

Indian & Chinese students are doing as well, if not better, than european students.

"While 21% of white students were awarded first class degrees, only 3.1% of black students were awarded firsts. This compares with 23.7% Indian students and 17.9% Chinese students who scored firsts." 17.stm

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