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    Belonging on Campus: An exploratory study of the continuities, the contradictions and the consequences for Black and Minority Ethnic students in higher education

    Darby, Fionnuala (2020) Belonging on Campus: An exploratory study of the continuities, the contradictions and the consequences for Black and Minority Ethnic students in higher education. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    What we know about Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students, on campus depends on where we look. Limited research exists documenting the lived experiences of BME students in Irish higher education institutions and an understanding of the components of the campus environment that affect a sense of belonging for BME students remains elusive. My overarching understanding of inclusion in the context of this research relates to students who have self-identified as being from ethnically and culturally diverse minority backgrounds and is situated in their experience of the campus as a place of belonging and inclusion at Technological University Dublin, Blanchardstown Campus. My research highlights the prominence of Eurocentric curricula and a predominantly White academy which characterise the continuities of White privilege in this study, assimilation as means of fitting in (the contradictions) and underestimating the impact of misrecognition based on name and appearance along with the cumulative effects of experiencing microaggressions on a daily or weekly basis (the consequences). In arriving at my conceptual framework through a bricolage research approach, a number of theoretical perspectives were adopted. Scholarship under review considered the impact of social geographies of inclusion and belonging, critical race theory (CRT), and the psychological impact of racial-ethnic microaggressions. My research is applied and is located within a framework underpinned by inclusion. Utilising photovoice methodology (PVM) and thematic analysis, the key findings presented emphasise contradictory ways in which the campus includes and excludes BME students. The participants’ narratives suggest that the campus is diverse and inclusive while also experiencing it as discriminatory and exclusive. Combining the components of my research permits me to establish conceptual links between the findings, to synthesise evidence into conceptual conclusions and to demonstrate an understanding of the academic content in which my research is located in the chapters that follow. The findings inform an overarching narrative that recommends a campus wide environment assessment underpinned by a culturally conscious campus with brave spaces, to advance the belonging and inclusion of our diverse student population. The conclusions of my study demonstrate a lack of recognition of the ethnic and cultural differences that students bring to our classrooms; the need to connect our content, teaching and assessment for BME students; to increase our understanding of the points of pain and frustration that our students experience daily or weekly on campus, and to strengthen the academy to become ethnically literate educators. My research has implications for curriculum design and pedagogical reforms. It invokes creative controversy. The conclusions and recommendations provided advocate for a change in the cultural paradigm that currently influences the university. This requires the dissemination of the findings of my research at a local level and beyond, to raise awareness and to inform students and staff that only when a campus is truly inclusive, can it make a claim to excellence.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Belonging on Campus: exploratory study; continuities; contradictions; consequences; Black and Minority Ethnic students; higher education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 13535
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2020 16:50
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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