Navigating Toward Success: Black and Minority Ethnic Students in Postgraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Courses in England

PhD Thesis


Jackson-Cole, D. 2019. Navigating Toward Success: Black and Minority Ethnic Students in Postgraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Courses in England. PhD Thesis University of East London Cass School of Education and Communities
AuthorsJackson-Cole, D.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

This thesis aims to address a paucity in the literature of the experiences of ‘home’ Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students in postgraduate (PG) education in England, with a particular focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is done by (1) identifying institutional barriers to access to and progression through PG study, including the role of Widening Participation (WP) policy and (2) the factors facilitating educational success of BME students.
This thesis uses a multi-faceted framework of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991), Critical Race Theory (CRT) (Gillborn, 2008), Bourdieusian thinking tools (Bourdieu 1997) and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth (CCW) capitals (aspirational, linguistic, social, navigational, familial and resistant). It argues for the addition of what is theorised as perspective capital to the CCW framework, which can be seen as a resource that allows people of colour to make contributions to the field, stemming from a perspective which is not readily available to people from dominant groups.
The data includes semi-structured initial (n=15) and follow up interviews (n=10) with BME students in PG STEM courses, semi-structured interviews with university staff (n=18), student survey (n=246) and various policy and marketing documents.
The data suggests that the lack of intersectional thinking in the conceptualisation of WP policy has had negative impacts on BME students. Furthermore, BME students in this research experienced othering. This stemmed from academics’ discourses marking racial difference and from how the organisational structures of the PG field relegated these students to a category of needing support. This had negative impacts on their progression and mental wellbeing. However, students in this study had a range of capitals at their disposal, which allowed them to navigate the PG field.
This thesis makes a significant contribution to knowledge by developing Yosso’s work to include a new notion of perspective capital and fine-tuning the conceptualisations of linguistic and social capitals within the CCW framework.

Year2019
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/uel.879zx
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Publication dates
PrintDec 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Feb 2020
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