Ruhma Ali Taj - Why I became a BAME student advocate

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Ruhma Ali Taj -  Why I became a BAME student advocate 
I put myself forward as a BAME student advocate because of the impact I know that I wanted to create. Through our individual contributions towards improving the university experience for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and reducing the attainment gap, we can achieve something much bigger as an institution, and enables us to increase our impact and influence

As a student from a Pakistani background, I have been able to fully appreciate the University’s dedication to reducing the BAME awarding gap and driving conversations around race and promoting inclusivity. As an advocate, I have a greater understanding of the necessity of this role, and what it can mean to our diverse student population of 25,000. BAME student advocates encourage students to have a voice in communicating their experiences, struggles, needs and suggestions. 

As a result of this role, I now have experience of running multiple focus groups, and always make sure to listen to the issues, suggestions and feedback that our students share during these sessions. I report my findings back to the relevant teams, and make sure that student feedback is addressed in the changes and improvements we implement such as:
  • highlighting the importance of names and their correct pronunciation
  • making sure course content and reading lists are representative
  • conduct module reviews about inclusivity and representation, which is important to regularly maintain to meet the needs of our vastly diverse student population.
Through my role, I have built my confidence in working on our goals alongside different teams Through the last year, I have been able to network and interact with senior management, module leads, colleagues and external stakeholders. In addition, I have been able to work on a variety of projects, such as the BAME Empowerment Programme or this year’s virtual BAME Careers Fair. 

Plus, being an advocate has led to new opportunities, such as being selected to be a part of Blackademik video series., a collaboration with an external organisation in which we communicated our honest thoughts, opinions and experiences, which was presented recently to staff at the annual BAME Institutional Action Plan Launch.

Having already completed a year in this role, I have re-applied this year due to my passion, dedication and belief in the importance of this role. Seeing the progress and impact that I have been able to make so far has been hugely rewarding. This year, I am hoping to promote mental wellbeing amongst BAME students.

For Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students wanting to develop their knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities as a BAME student advocate, and wanting to engage in new experience and opportunities, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to apply for this position, and overall make a positive contribution and impact to the educational experience of BAME students.



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