Breaking barriers: using mentoring to transform representation, identity and marginalisation in black higher education students

Melanie-Marie Haywood, Adwoa Darko


As the centre for African Studies and Research in the UK, SOAS University of London has positioned itself as a beacon attracting black staff and students from around the UK and the world. In an attempt to address the evident institutional racism and limitations on access, retention and success of black students, the institution launched 'Breaking Barriers': a black staff and student mentoring scheme with the key aim of significantly improving black students' assimilation into, and consequently confidence in, the university environment, while simultaneously addressing systemic racism and the challenges it presents to black students. The scheme is currently in its fourth year and has mentored fifty black students. Outcomes of the scheme have shown measureable improvement in student learning, retention and general assimilation into and sense of belonging to the university.


Mentoring; Black students; Retention; Black Staff; Asimilation

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