Professor Jacqueline Stevenson Inaugural Lecture
Time: 3.30 PM to 5.30 PM
Venue: Charles Street 12.0.06, City Campus S1 2ND
(Im)possible futures: race, attainment and the inequalities of higher education
Despite the many promises of higher education, access, retention and degree outcomes are uneven across the student population. This affects, and limits, possibilities for post-graduate employment and, in turn, for social mobility. The promise of attaining social mobility through higher education is, for many students, a broken one.
One of the most entrenched higher educational inequalities relates to the degree attainment gap. Across the UK students from ethnic minority, or minoritised, backgrounds attain substantially worse academically than their white peers, regardless of prior attainment, social and economic background, or parental experience of HE. In short students will get better academic results if they are white than if they are not. In this lecture Professor Jacqueline Stevenson uses the concept of the Possible Self (Markus and Nurius 1986) to explore how the social and academic practices of higher education can work to either enable or deny academic possibilities, and so contribute to unequal degree attainment and post-graduate outcomes.
Professor Stevenson is Head of Research in the Sheffield Institute of Education. She is a sociologist of education with interests in equity and diversity, widening participation, and student success. She draws on the theoretical lenses of resilience, belonging, mattering, time, temporality and future selves. Her research is primarily qualitative, using biography, narrative inquiry and life history. She was previously Professor of Higher Education at Leeds Beckett University.