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100 Black Women Professors NOW

100 Black Women Professors NOW is a unique 12-month accelerator and change programme for UK higher education institutions developed and delivered by the Women’s Higher Education Network (WHEN).

Out of more than 23,000 professors at UK universities, only 61 are Black women. 

The programme aims to propel equity of opportunity for Black women academics, researchers and PhD students and to deliver a step change in progress for the sector by working with individuals throughout the academic pipeline as well as institutions, managers and leaders.

Programme participants take part in and benefit from mentorship, career coaching, action learning and peer group coaching, networking, master classes, campaign and profile-raising opportunities.

This is not about just 100 Black women professors; it’s about the first 100

Our drive is to promote equity of opportunity within the academic world, and we begin that journey with 100 Black women academics, pioneering the path of change.

Following the hugely successful pilot, WHEN has expanded phase two of the programme with the aim of retaining and propelling the careers of Black women earlier in the pipeline. Tracks include advanced career academics, early to mid-level career academics and PhD Students.

The programme isn’t only about supporting Black academic women to navigate and manage their careers; it’s about challenging institutional assumptions and bias, recognising the need to address fundamental societal inequities, and acting to achieve systemic change for a fairer world.

More information

We are currently supporting the second cohort of University of Exeter colleagues to take part in this programme. If you have any questions about the programme, application or selection process, please email Shraddha Chaudhary, Assistant Director for Culture and Inclusion at

People profiles

Get to know some University of Exeter people part of 100BWPN.

Ayooluwatomi Adesina

Ayooluwatomi is a PhD Candidate in our English and Creative Writing department and a Media and Corporate Campaigns Officer for the University of Exeter

My career background, interests, and research

Before academia, I worked as a screenwriter in the Nigerian Film Industry. My 10-year screenwriting experience involved heading writers’ rooms, collaborating with industry players in creating film and TV series for diverse media. In that time, I also facilitated writing classes for screenwriting enthusiasts and volunteered in creative writing workshops.

I also have a young career in media and communications within the UK Higher Education system and it has exposed me to the basics of distilling technical research to a wider audience.

I have always been interested in research and teaching, as I believe they significantly feed into each other. I had also previously taught writing classes, so, when the opportunity came to pivot towards a career path that lent itself to working towards a degree in creative writing, I took the chance.

I have been particularly inspired by a few teachers who have fanned the flame of being a teacher in me. From my music teacher to my art teacher and my mother, a teacher herself, I appreciate the value in building others and contributing to the larger society.

My research focuses on fictional representation of ageing and place in Nigerian and South Korean cinema. As a comparative analysis, I’m reading against a culturally diverse yet similar group of people in terms of traditions, media influence, and gender expectations. I’m particularly keen on discourses around portrayal of older people on screen and inter-generational dynamics.

How I've invested in my career and how others have invested in me 

Since I made the decision to seek a future in academia, I’ve sought out people and networks to grow. Networking is an important part of me so I try to ask questions and take opportunities that could advance my growth. I enrolled in the 100BWPN programme as I believe it’ll be instrumental in guiding me towards a good future in academia. ,

Other things I've done include shadowing a class as part of learning to teach in higher education. I also invest in my friendships because there’s a lot more to life than my career and I want to make sure that I have forged solid relationships with people.

The University of Exeter has been a key source of investment in my new career trajectory. My PhD is fully funded which largely allows me the financial freedom to think about my work. It’s also important that the Arts and Humanities enjoy such support because that will enable us as researchers to creatively express ourselves by engaging in diverse disciplines.

My supervisors and mentors here at Exeter have been crucial in my development, by constantly signposting me to opportunities and recommending me to others.

Useful advice

Someone once said to me, “It’s a good thing to finish a thing.” It was a small moment and almost insignificant, but it has stuck with me ever since and I try to make it a point of duty to finish whatever I start – finishing might look differently in diverse situations, but to see the end of a thing is good.

Melody Kuziwa Jombe  

Melody is a Lecturer in our Business School

My career background, interests, and research

Before joining academia, I worked in corporate sector including Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Market Research and Media industries as a General Manager, Project Manager, and Analyst respectively.

I was inspired to join academia full-time because of my desire to extend and share my knowledge (I was also tired of chasing profits). 

I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce Hons in Business Management, and a Master of Philosophy in Strategic Management. I am also a PhD Candidate in Business Management. Working tirelessly over the years to attain these degrees, and working in industry, has shaped my career to where it is now.

My research areas include Insolvency, Restructuring, Business Rescue and Turnaround Management. 

I grew to love the "sort of" neglected area of Turnaround Management while completing my MPhil, which had a special focus on restructuring and business rescue. It is imperative that we understand why businesses fail and what measures can be implemented to ensure that either big corporates or small ventures continue operating as going concerns and successfully contribute to a growing economy.

Useful advice

The best advice I’ve been given is that unlearning is the highest form of learning. As you go up the ladder of life, be prepared to unlearn some of the things that you once learned and believed in.

OreOluwa Onifade

OreOluwa is a Mental Health Nurse Lecturer in our Academy of Nursing

My career background, interests, and research

Teaching has always been my passion. I’ve been in academia since I graduated as a Nurse Educator specialist.

My education and training took place in Nigeria. I wear so many caps: I am a Registered Nurse (Nigeria), Registered Midwife (Nigeria), Registered Mental Health Nurse (Nigeria and UK).

I’ve always had a passion for academia. All through my study period, I have enjoyed tutorials with others, conducting research, and presenting papers.

I am motivated by working with people, sharing knowledge, and bringing kindness and love to the world. So, nursing, teaching, and academia became my occupation, as well as my passion.

My previous work has involved researching help-seeking behaviours of student nurses, and nutritional assessment of people with mental ill health, among others. Currently, I’m interested in collaborating with other researchers on depression in women and adolescents, and how to support people to build resilience and practise self-care.

How I've invested in my career and how others have invested in me

I have invested in myself by taking every opportunity to study. I’m always looking forward to challenging myself and improving. I always want to know more about the things I’m passionate about, and I’m planning to start a PhD soon.

My family has also invested in me. My mum always encouraged me to become a nurse and my dad shared his love of books with me and supported my studies.

While I have always taken it upon myself to develop myself, having supportive colleagues has been equally important. This includes those who take an interest, see things in me I don’t always see in myself, and encourage me to go for opportunities like the 100BWPN programme.

Useful advice

The best advice I’ve received is to be yourself and don't put limitations on yourself, for example by staying quiet. It’s important speak up for yourself and others. It’s also important to learn how to say no – communicate what you can do and what you can’t do, and why.

My message to others is to always radiate love and celebrate diversity. The world can still do with more kindness, let’s give it.