Stellar stars shine at closing conference
21 December 2010
Participants marked the completion of an Imperial led unique BME development programme with a one day conference.
The Stellar programme is a HEFCE funded scheme involving 10 universities in the UK. Based on Imperial’s internal iLead programme for black and minority ethnic staff, it is a response to their underrepresentation in leadership roles in higher education.
The course uses learning modules and interactive workshops to encourage BME staff to draw on the cultures and backgrounds within their own life experience, and apply them to the way they work. Praising the scheme Imperial’s Rector Sir Keith O’Nions said:
“Diversity within HE leadership is an increasing strategic priority. It enhances institutional competiveness, through attracting and retaining talented staff, and it improves staff performance by creating a working environment where each employee is encouraged to reach their full potential.”
At Stellar’s closing conference earlier this month diversity experts from across different sectors shared best practice principles, while attendees also had the chance to hear from Stellar participants themselves. One participant , Betty Yue, from Imperial’s Professional Development Unit described how the scheme worked for her:
“I’m from a cultural background which has a strong focus on bringing people together. Stellar really allowed me to hone this emphasis on sharing, to engage people with a project I’m working on here at Imperial.”
One of the distinct features of Stellar is its engagement with senior staff, with tailored sessions for line mangers of participants. Okan Kibaroglu from ICT was one such manager, who was so impressed with the scheme he decided to join it, and gave one of the presentations at the closing conference:
“I was a bit nervous about the prospect of standing up before a select audience and making a speech. Then, I reflected on what we’ve been going through during the past few months in the programme and realised this was exactly what it was trying to teach us: rise up to the challenge of the moment.”
While the participants have finished Stellar, the programme’s legacy will include a number of developments, with participating institutions involved examining ways to embed the scheme within their own institutions. One University of Glasgow project will investigate options for interested Scottish universities to set up a similar scheme, which this year also saw Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust take part in the programme.
Closing the conference, guest speaker Sir Thomas Legg, the Non-Executive Director Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust and Chair of the Equality & Diversity Committee, said:
“Ensuring that talented staff can flourish is fundamental to the success of any organisation, and one of the reasons why intelligent programmes like Stellar are so important. We have therefore been delighted by the opportunities that Stellar has opened up within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust too.”
— John-Paul Jones, Communications and Development