Equalitylink October 2011
ECU's monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and our work with the sector
Welcome October 2011
Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK. Equalitylink is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector.
BME staff face discrimination
ECU report highlights discrimination in HE in England
Research undertaken by ECU has found that the majority of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff in higher education who took part had experienced damaging effects on their careers by being treated as subordinates or excluded because of their race.
The report, launched on 4 October 2011, documents the experiences of BME staff, including for some the corrosion of confidence created by a lack of respect, support and recognition from colleagues.
The research, funded by the HEFCE Leadership, governance and management fund, involved surveys, interviews, focus groups and in-depth fieldwork with BME and non-BME staff across a range of institutional types and geographical spread in England. The study focused on UK national BME staff in academic, professional and support roles.
Impact of Athena SWAN
Research finds positive impact at all levels
The Athena SWAN Charter recognises excellence in science, engineering and technology employment for women in higher education. Research into the impact of the charter shows that it has beneficial impact for individual female research staff and their institutions.
Athena SWAN Charter: measuring success details the findings of a series of interviews and focus groups conducted with vice-chancellors, pro vice-chancellors, department heads, equality and diversity practitioners, and academics and researchers in SET disciplines at five Athena SWAN award-holding institutions across the UK.
The research identified impact on organisational structure and culture change, with increases in the proportion of women, better representation of women on committees, improvements in the transition from postdoctoral researcher to first academic post, improved working practices to support career progression, and growth in women’s networking across institutions.
The ‘reasonable’ costs of reasonable adjustments
Cordell vs Foreign and Commonwealth Office
In a recent case heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Cordell vs Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it was ruled that the employer did not breach its duty to make reasonable adjustments by withdrawing its offer of employment to Cordell based in part on the costs of the required reasonable adjustments. The cost of providing English-speaking lipspeaker support to the proposed posting in Kazakhstan was assessed by the employer to be around £230,000 per annum.
While the case doesn’t determine a maximum cost that an employer is expected to pay for a reasonable adjustment, it highlights a range of contextual factors that need to be considered when assessing what is a reasonable cost.
Institutions should therefore consider the specific circumstances of each individual case in full. The EHRC employment codes of practice outline some of the factors which should be taken into account (sections 6.28 and 6.29). Institutions should also continue to promote and seek the availability of other funding sources, for example the Access to Work scheme.
ECU has also produced guidance on managing reasonable adjustments in higher education.
Student mental health
Provision not keeping pace with increasing student body
A report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found that although most HEIs have pastoral and counselling services in place, in many cases the provision of these services has not kept pace with expanding student numbers. The report found that services were overstretched and unable to meet increasing demand.
EHRC strategic plan
Consultation open on Commission’s role
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has opened a consultation to help develop a strategic plan for 2012-15. The consultation aims to give everyone the opportunity to comment on EHRC’s goals and priorities, proposed mission and roles, and identify key equality and human rights issues.
Deadline: 12 December 2011
International staff survey
Share your good practice
ECU will shortly be launching a survey for international staff working in higher education in the UK. The survey will explore issues international staff face when living and working in the UK, and areas where further support would be beneficial. The survey will be followed by further qualitative work at a selection of institutions to build full case studies and good practice guidance.
The survey will be sent out to all equality and diversity managers and HR managers. We would greatly appreciate it if you could disseminate the survey to international staff in your institutions, or circulate it via your staff networks.
We would also like to know about any specific work that has taken place within your institution to better support international staff, so we can identify good practice to share across the sector. If you have implemented any specific initiatives, such as tailored inductions, or a specific mentor or buddying system, then please let us know.
For more information contact Claire Herbert
T: 020 7438 1016
JISCMAIL for colleges
ECU is funded to support colleges in Scotland with equality and diversity. The colleges in Scotland have asked ECU to develop a simple to use communication tool, space for information sharing and an environment to encourage collaborative working and sharing across the sector and across regions.
We have set up a mailing list on JISCmail to bring together equality and diversity leads in colleges working on strategic and operational interventions in line with the Equality Act and sector good practice. Although the list was created specifically as a tool for colleagues within Scotland’s colleges, membership is not restricted.
Join the mailing list: CollegesEqualityandDiversity
If you have any queries, contact Fatima Choudhury, Engagement Officer (FE).
ECU welcomes new members
We are delighted to welcome two new members to ECU’s board of directors.
Rosemary Stamp is director and principal consultant of Stamp Consulting. She advises HE and public sector organisations on strategic marketing, brand competitiveness and positioning, policy response and strategic planning.
Michael MacNeil is head of higher education for the University and College Union. He joins ECU’s board as JNCHES nominee.
ECU annual survey
Take part in our survey
At ECU, we want to know we are providing the right services and resources to support your institution with equality and diversity. This year we will be inviting you to participate in our inaugural annual survey of our stakeholders in the higher education sector.
Your opinion is invaluable in helping us to understand how our work supports you and your institution, assess our impact on the sector, and inform priorities and areas of work for the future.
There will be three different surveys, specifically for:
- equality and diversity practitioners
- HR practitioners
The survey will be open from 1-21 November 2011 and will be emailed to you through Survey Monkey. We will also circulate links to the three surveys.
Follow ECU on Twitter
You can now access our updates and equality news by following us on Twitter. We flag up interesting news and announcements about equality in the higher education sector, as well as letting you know what the ECU team is up to.
Experience of black and minority ethnic staff in HE in England
Exploring the lived experience of black and minority ethnic staff (BME) and how institutional policy and practice may affect BME staff differently.
Hardcopies of this publication are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Athena SWAN: Measuring success 2011
Researching the impact of the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science.
This impact study was conducted through interviews and focus groups in five Athena SWAN award holding institutions across the UK.
Hardcopies of this publication are available. Email Sarah Hawkes
Scottish Resource Centre for women in SET
Interconnect is a network for women studying science, engineering, technology and built environment (SET) in Scotland and has been tackling occupational segregation in the SET sectors since its launch in 2009.
Interconnect has engaged with over 600 students from 22 universities and colleges in Scotland. Female SET students have increased their confidence, developed their professional and personal networks and identified and obtained jobs and work placements, directly through being involved in Interconnect.
The Scottish Resource Centre for Women in SET hosts the Interconnect project at Edinburgh Napier University and has produced a summary brochure of their success, providing people with ideas to take forward at their institution.
To order a copy email Allison Johnstone
Making and shaping equality objectives
Tips, hints and bright ideas
Equality organisation brap has published a short accessible guide offering tips and strategies for developing equality objectives to meet the Equality Act specific duties. The guide is designed to help organisations go beyond the law to make equality a reality.
Every researcher counts
Equality and diversity in researcher careers
The every researcher counts project aims to improve equality and diversity for research staff within the higher education sector.
Vitae, the organisation delivering the project, has published resources and case studies on equality for staff developers to embed in training materials for principal investigators and supervisors.
Religion and belief in HE: regional workshop
2 November 2011, University of Nottingham
Hosted by the University of Nottingham, this workshop presents the findings of recent ECU research into the experiences of staff and students with a religion or belief in higher education.
Delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss the key issues raised, including developing institutional responses.
UCU equality events
November 2011, London
University and College Union hold annual equality conferences for their members:
- women members: Friday, 4 November 2011
- LGBT members: Saturday, 5 November 2011
- black members: Friday, 11 November 2011
- disabled Members: Friday, 25 November 2011
(Not) belonging in the creative world: challenging HE exclusions
17 November 2011, University of Roehampton
A seminar co-hosted by the Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy and the London Paulo Freire Institute, Roehampton University.
The silence of the curriculum: equality as an intellectual absence in higher education for arts and culture – Professor Jocey Quinn, Plymouth University and Dr Kim Allen, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University. This session is based on research into work placements undertaken for ECU.
Art for a few: exclusions and misrecognitions in HE admissions – Professor Penny Jane Burke, Roehampton University and Jackie McManus, University of the Arts, London.
Places are free but limited. To book a place email Ada Mau.
Religion and belief in HE: regional workshop
24 November 2011, Canterbury Christ Church University
Hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University, this workshop presents the findings of recent ECU research into the experiences of staff and students with a religion or belief in higher education.
Delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss the key issues raised with fellow practitioners and the Inter Faith Council.
Accelerating equality and celebrating diversity
24 November 2011, University of Central Lancashire
UCLan is hosting its first diversity conference in November, and can offer a small number of free places to external delegates.
Delegates will meet to hear keynote speakers and debate key local and national diversity themes and to identify and share good practice.
If you would like your event to be featured on our website and the next issue of Equalitylink, please email details to Anna Roberts Allison, Communications Manager.