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Home Article Diversity vital for excellence, say vice-chancellors

Diversity vital for excellence, say vice-chancellors

Vice-chancellors and principals from across the sector outline their conviction that equality and diversity are integral to being an excellent university.

Vice-chancellors and principals from across the sector outline their conviction that equality and diversity are integral to being an excellent university in a report launched today by Equality Challenge Unit, the higher education equality body. The launch takes place at the Committee of University Chairs national meeting in London.

The rationale for equality and diversity: how vice-chancellors are leading change report is part of a Higher Education Funding Council for England diversity summit initiative to address the lack of diversity at senior management, leadership and governance in HE. Based on in-depth interviews with 12 university heads, the report reinforces the importance of putting equality and diversity at the heart of a university’s mission. For those interviewed, a university that didn’t value staff or student diversity simply couldn’t be excellent.

The report highlights the essential role that vice-chancellors and principals can play in leading an institutions’ ethos. The benefits of this approach in the 12 universities include: increases in the number of women at senior academic level; increased success in attracting staff and students from overseas, helping to meet widening participation goals, and improving overall performance and the institution’s position in rankings.

David Ruebain, ECU Chief Executive said:

‘All of the sector bodies involved as partners in the HEFCE diversity summit are committed to addressing the lack of diversity at senior levels in higher education. This research gives a real insight into the motivations and drivers that prompt many senior leaders in HE to become visible and active champions of equality and diversity.

We hope that this will encourage HE leaders to fully consider the benefits diversity can bring to institutions and leadership teams. We also hope it will inspire more vice-chancellors and principals to publically share their commitment to equality.’

This research was commissioned by ECU on behalf of HEFCE’s diversity summit partners and was carried out by Schneider~Ross Ltd.

Published date: October 16, 2014