Great Future

94.6% of our undergraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating

(Destinations of Leavers Survey 2013/14)

Black teachers still need ‘white sanction’ to gain advancement

Black man

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:01:00 BST

“…participants expressed that white colleagues were like ‘gatekeepers’, and there was no way you could get a job without first impressing and/or forming an alliance with them…”

A UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield professor has developed a theory that black and minority ethnic (BME) teachers and academics in England depend on “white sanction” in order to fulfil their potential.

Professor Paul Miller Professor Paul Miller (pictured right) has published a new article that analyses official statistics plus evidence culled from a series of interviews, and he demonstrates that BME educationalists require endorsement from white colleagues if they are to climb the career ladder.  Now, he plans further research on the role played by race in English education, and his “white sanction” concept will be explored at a special seminar to take place at the University of Huddersfield in 2017.

In his article – published by the journal Power and Education – Professor Miller writes that “BME academics and teachers should not need to rely on a ‘white sanction’ to legitimise and enable them”.

“In 21st Century England, a multi-racial and multi-cultural country, any suggestion of ethnic and/or racial superiority should be vigorously pushed back and talents, skills and voices from all ethnicities legitimised and respected.”

He calls for robust monitoring of existing policies to see that they are being followed.

“For example, there are many provisions in the Equalities Act which place a duty upon organisations to be more inclusive.  What I want is greater policy accountability,” he said, and one of the conclusions of his article is that “white sanction will prevail in contexts where government policies lack enforcement and monitoring”.

Professor Miller argues that “the promotion and prospects of BME teachers and academics has more or less flatlined”.  He includes statistics, such as the fact that of the 8.4 million pupils at English state schools, more than 25 per cent have minority ethnic origins.  Yet 87 per cent of the country’s 454,900 teachers are white British.

There are approximately 18,000 qualified BME teachers, with 1,000 in leadership roles, but only 104 of them are head teachers.  The professor found equivalent patterns in Higher Education.

During his research, Professor Miller conducted interviews with BME academics and teachers at a variety of universities and schools.  Some felt that racial discrimination had held back their career progression.  Also, “several of the participants expressed that white colleagues were like ‘gatekeepers’, and there was no way you could get a job without first impressing and/or forming an alliance with them”.

Power and education logo It was to describe this need to gain endorsement that Professor Miller coined the term “white sanction”.  The article described the different forms that it can take, and states that white sanction “occurs where the skills and capabilities of a BME individual are, first, acknowledged and, second, endorsed/promoted by a white individual, who is positioned as a broker and/or mediator acting on behalf of or in the interests of the BME individual”.

One of the conclusions is that BME academics and teachers are “consciously and purposefully taking matters into their own hands by rallying and supporting each other through mentoring and networking”.

Jamaican-born Professor Miller has widespread experience of lecturing and research within UK Higher Education.  His appointment at the University of Huddersfield earlier in 2016 meant he became the first black academic to be appointed to a Professorship in Educational Leadership and Management at any British university.

His research and publications have dealt with topics such as teacher identity and migration, and corruption in education.  He is co-convenor of the Race and Leadership Research Interest Group at the British Educational Leadership and Educational Research Society (BELMAS).

Professor Miller will now build on the work that led to his latest article and aims to carry out research on race and leadership in secondary schools and universities.  BELMAS has provided funding for a seminar dealing with white sanction which will take place at the University of Huddersfield on 31 March, 2017.

  • The article ‘White sanction’, institutional, group and individual interaction in the promotion and progression of black and minority ethnic academics and teachers in England, by Paul Miller, is in Power and Education, first published on October 17, 2016.
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Uni to undertake major human rights project for Intersex people

Intersex rights logo

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:05:00 BST

“…across Europe there has been very little research into or promotion of the human rights for intersex people…”

Intersex Day A MAJOR research project is under way that looks to open the eyes of the public generally, and in particular health practitioners and policy-makers, to rights, or lack of them, for Intersex people.

The project, by researchers at the University of Huddersfield, has been announced to coincide with Intersex Awareness Day, an internationally-observed promotion designed to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people.

‘Intersex’ is an umbrella-term that encompasses various physical variations in the components of the parts of the body that are generally considered gendered or sexed.  This can include chromosomes, genetic markers, gonads, hormones, reproductive organs, genitals and secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair or muscle mass.

Despite the fact that these variations generally do not threaten the physical health of the individual, people with these biological variations are often subjected to involuntary unnecessary surgery and other medical treatment.  Up to 2% of the population may be born with invisible or visible intersex traits, and between 0.1% and 0.05% are detected and subject to medical attention.

The Huddersfield project was proposed by Professor Surya Monro, who has researched extensively in the field of citizenship and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people.

Professor Surya Monro Professor Monro (pictured left) discovered that across Europe there has been very little research into or promotion of the human rights for intersex people, who may also be medically referred to as having the controversial term Disorders or Differences of Sex Development (DSD, coined in 2006).

‌‌Professor Monro worked together with Dr Daniela Crocetti, who has undertaken much of her work including her PhD at the University of Bologna on the medicalization of the gendered body from a social studies of science and medicine perspective, and sociologist Dr Tracey Yeadon-Lee, who was published substantially in the field of transgender studies, to seek funding for the project on Intersex Human Rights.

The successful research application was made to the European Commission for a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship and received funding for a two-year project which will see collaborative work undertaken across three countries, the UK, Italy and Switzerland.

Project work has already started and workshops are planned for each of the three countries, primarily targeting the health services and policy-makers.  The initiative will conclude with a major international conference.

“Intersex people and in particular the rights of intersex people are still very hidden,” says Professor Monro.  “There are many misunderstandings and there is very little research into human rights for these people and, across Europe, just a few countries have some legislation regarding their citizenship.”

Many live simply as either men or women, while some prefer to be identified as intersex.  Professor Monro argues that individual people should have the right to decide how they want to live their lives, which includes a right to bodily autonomy and integrity.

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New research shows way for anti-cancer treatment

PhD researcher Tanya Swaine

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:29:00 BST

“…what developers need is a safe way of predicting what would happen in a patient’s body…”

PhD researcher Tanya Swaine and Dr Laura WatersPhD research Tania Swaine with her supervisor Dr Laura Waters

‌RESEARCHERS at the University of Huddersfield have developed a new lab technique that may aid the development and success rate of an important anti-cancer treatment.

Used particularly in cases of liver cancer, polymer beads are injected into arteries that feed a tumour, where they block the blood flow, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients.  The beads then also release an anticancer drug directly into the tumour, reducing the systemic side effects. 

What developers need is a safe way of predicting what would happen in a patient’s body if the beads and the drug they contain are modified.  Now the new research has provided them with a method and the findings are described in an article in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“There was no lab mimic that was able to adequately predict how the drug was released from these drug-eluting beads once they were in the body,” said one of the co-authors, University of Huddersfield pharmaceutical science lecturer and researcher Dr Laura Waters.  “The article describes a way of doing it in the lab.  We compared our results with in vivo data and proved that the method worked.”

Dr Waters is supervising the PhD researcher Tanya Swaine, a graduate of the University of Huddersfield whose doctoral project is sponsored by the company BTG, which manufactures the embolization beads that are used in the therapy.

‌Tanya and co-researchers were able to carry out lab experiments in which a buffer – a liquid that mimics blood – was pumped at different rates through the beads.  They also modified the quantities of drug contained in the beads.  By comparing their laboratory observations with in vivo data, the research team was able to establish the validity of their simulation technique.

BTG Interventional Medicine It will be of practical value to any medical researcher working on a bead-based system, said Dr Waters, enabling them to make accurate predictions without running any risks to patients.

Professor Andy Lewis, Director of R&D at BTG and industrial supervisor in the collaboration commented: “We are continually innovating our drug-eluting bead technologies to introduce new features, such as X-ray visibility or biodegradability.  It’s important from a product development perspective that if we wanted to put other drugs into the beads, or change anything about their chemistry, we could use this system to predict product behaviour before it is given to people.”


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Geographic profiling to thwarts tiger kidnappers


Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:48:00 BST

Investigative psychologist interviews convicted criminals to observe patterns in the geographic profiling of tiger kidnapping

Dr John Synnott AFTER interviewing dozens of convicted criminals, a University of Huddersfield lecturer has amassed and analysed data that could help police solve a range of serious crimes – including the offence dubbed “Tiger Kidnapping”.

Dr John Synnott (pictured right), who is a Senior Lecturer and Assistant Course Director for the Investigative Psychology MSc course at the University, has explored the distances and the journeys made by armed robbers after committing their crimes.  In doing so, he has expanded the field known as ‘geographic profiling’, established as a useful tool in detection.

‌In his article describing the research, Dr Synnott focuses on tiger kidnapping, which he defines as “the abduction of a person of importance to a victim – generally a bank manager – in which that person is used as collateral until the victim complies with the requests of the offenders.”

“This is accomplished by using a picture of the victim’s loved ones under gun point, or, through the desperate persuasion of the victim to get the assistance of their colleagues, which may be necessary to complete the act.  When the money has been secured the victim is then told of a location in which to meet the criminals to hand over the cash,” writes Dr Synnott.

There was a wave of these offences in Ireland and Dr Synnott, who is Irish himself, decided to investigate.  In his article, he adds that: “One of the hallmark features of this crime is the vast number of individual locations which are incorporated within the offence.  As a consequence, these features facilitate the possibility of a systematic analysis of the locations used and the spatial processes inherent to them”.

When Dr Synnott began his research, police forces north and south of the border provided data and he set up interviews with offenders in five jails in the Republic.

kidnapping “At the time there was no-one convicted of the offence of tiger kidnapping, so I interviewed armed offenders and asked how they managed their getaway from the crime and that gave us additional qualitative information that could be used to help with the interpretation of the quantitative data collected,” said Dr Synnott.

Among his findings was that there were significant differences in the nature of tiger kidnapping in the North and South of Ireland.  In the North, the perpetrators tended to be ex-paramilitaries, meaning that they remained within their communities and would keep victims in their own homes in some cases.  In contrast, offenders in the Republic would move their kidnap victims a much greater distance away from the initial kidnap location.

The convicted criminals interviewed by Dr Synnott provided him with many insights, for example on how getaway routes are planned.  And although the article describes research into tiger kidnapping, the findings have wider relevance, by expanding the remit of geographical profiling.

Until now, this has been largely restricted to making predictions of the residential base of an offender, according to the article.

But geographic profiling should go further, argues Dr Synnott, extending “to a study of criminal geography generally; for example understanding where offenders travel to after crime and why they might choose one location over another.  Understanding criminal geography in all its forms will naturally contribute to any prediction based models on the residential location of offenders and beyond.”

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