One interviewee observed that the leadership courses were in essence adapted from those aimed at “white, middle-class women”, and had not been tailored to provide “tools to navigate the complex interpersonal relationships we have to think about as BME people”. Another questioned whether black staff would want to “conform to the white style of leadership…that may not work for us because we are not white”.
Some questioned the fact that the courses were run by black trainers without an academic background, with one stating that it was “bit strange” that there were only BME people in the room.
“White senior academics…should be brought in at the end so that they can also understand first-hand some of the issues we are facing – which many of them don’t really comprehend,” said one black male interviewee quoted in the paper.
This lack of engagement from senior management led some to conclude that “institutions are using these courses as a tick-box exercise to say they are supporting BME staff”, Professor Bhopal told Times Higher Education.