Keynote Speakers

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Dr Zainab Khan

London Metropolitan University

Dr Zainab Khan is currently a Pro Vice Chancellor for teaching and learning at London Metropolitan University and Director of the University’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion. Alongside staff development, she has institutional responsibility for the teaching and learning strategies, the Access and Participation Plan and driving improvement in key student outcomes as well as development of the academic portfolio.

Zainab has held a number of strategic and operational management roles, prior to joining London Metropolitan in September 2019 Zainab was a Faculty Director at the University of the West of England, supporting three large departments to achieve outstanding academic and teaching excellence framework (TEF) results.

Led by Zainab, London Metropolitan’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion,  is pioneering a new approach to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into institutional practices, specifically institutional approaches to creating an inclusive and equitable culture for staff and students. Since arriving at London Met she has led the development and introduction of a values-led vision of Teaching & Learning strategy which places inclusion, accessibility and social justice at the heart of teaching practice and the curriculum.  Zainab is a multi-award-winning advocate for inclusion and race equity in education. Her work has received national recognition at the prestigious Guardian University Awards in 2019, Inclusive Companies Awards 2018 and she was highly commended at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2020. Her particular area of expertise is the design and implementation of transformational change programmes which address the experience of Black and minoritised individuals in Higher Education and the labour market. Prior to her academic career Zainab trained as a barrister and holds a PhD in law. Her doctorate examines the exclusionary dimensions to public participation in environmental decision-making, exploring the experiences of marginalised groups, the relationship between State and citizen as well as impact of the Anthropocene on non-human interests. Zainab is a Trustee of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, member of the governing body for University College Birmingham and a committee member of the Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers’ Division


Prof Lee Elliot Major

University of Exeter

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Lee Elliot Major is the country’s first Professor of Social Mobility. Appointed by the University of Exeter to be a global leader in the field, his work is dedicated to improving the prospects of disadvantaged young people. As a Professor of Practice he focuses on research that has direct impact on policy and practice, working closely with schools, universities, employers and policy makers.

Honorary Associate Professor Dr Celia Whitchurch

Centre for Global Higher Education, University College London Institute of Education

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Dr  Celia  Whitchurch  is  Honorary Associate Professor  of  higher  education  at   University College London Institute  of Education. Her research  interests  focus  on  academic and professional  identities  in  higher  education and changing workforce patterns.  Completed  projects  include  an international  study for  the  Leadership  Foundation  for  Higher  Education  (LFHE)  on  Professional  Managers  in  UK Higher  Education:  Preparing  for  Complex  Futures  (2008);  an  LFHE-funded  study  on  Staffing  Models  and  Institutional  Flexibility  (2013);  and  a study  for the UK Higher  Education  Academy on  Shifting  Landscapes:  Meeting  the  staff development  needs  of  the  changing  academic  workforce (2016).  She has recently been Principal Investigator on a Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) project entitled The implications of a diversifying workforce for higher education systems, institutions and individuals and is completing a monograph from that project. She  has  also published  an  edited monograph  (with  George  Gordon)  on  Academic  and  Professional  Identities  in  Higher Education:  The  Challenges  of  a  Diversifying  Workforce  (2010);   a  single-authored monograph,  Reconstructing  Identities  in  Higher  Education:  The  Rise  of  Third  Space Professionals  (2013);  and a further monograph with George Gordon on Reconstructing Relationships in Higher Education: Challenging Agendas (2017). She edited Higher Education Quarterly between 2007 and 2017.

Dr Gregory M. Walton

Stanford University

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One of the most pressing societal problems is the persistent inequality in academic achievement between different social groups. While many structural factors contribute to this inequality, Gregory Walton has long been interested in the role of psychological processes, such as those stemming from negative intellectual stereotypes, and how theory-based interventions that address these can reduce inequality in education.   Gregory Walton’s social-belonging intervention aim to prevent corrosive attributions by providing a nonthreatening narrative for feelings of nonbelonging in school.