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Advancing equality and diversity in universities and colleges


Home Our strategic plan 2017-2021

Our strategic plan 2017-2021

In 2016, ECU undertook a consultation to support the development of our new strategic plan.  Following the UK-wide consultation, which included a request for online feedback and a roundtable discussion, we are pleased to publish our strategic plan for 2017 – 2021.

Our vision

  • Equality of opportunity and outcome in participation, progression and success for all staff and students in an environment where diversity is celebrated and valued.

Our mission

  • ECU works in partnership with universities, colleges, and other sector bodies to advance equality, promote diversity in their staff and student bodies and build inclusion into all aspects of higher and further education.

Strategic aims

1 Empower

Provide tools for practitioners to confidently address inequality and foster a community of practice to support knowledge exchange, building on expertise within universities and colleges and collectively promote equality, diversity, and inclusion.

We will do this through:

  • providing a resource hub for practitioners and others within universities and colleges with responsibility for advancing equality
  • facilitating knowledge exchange and effective practice sharing events and conferences
  • supporting regional and national networks, collaborating with practitioners to build a community to learn from each other
  • providing training and learning resources, workshops, and webinars to enhance the expertise of practitioners
  • providing effective and consistent frameworks to drive culture change through ECU’s Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters
  • sharing resources to meet the needs of the diverse institutions and to reach a wider audience of staff and students within institutions

2 Lead

Identify and address existing or emerging and complex equality challenges so as to enhance the experience and knowledge of those who work and study in universities and colleges.

We will do this through:

  • providing thought-leadership by undertaking and disseminating in-depth research, analysis and guidance on emerging equality issues for universities and colleges
  • responding quickly to national issues which affect equality, diversity and inclusion in universities and colleges, influencing those debates where necessary
  • delivering national action learning projects to address complex issues

3 Promote

Emphasise the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion including improving the quality, performance and reputation of universities and colleges.

We will do this through:

  • communicating the progress being made across higher and further education, promoting what is being done well to address inequality and increase diversity
  • working with funding bodies, government bodies and parliamentarians in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to further equality and diversity in universities and colleges on a national scale
  • partnering with sector organisations to enhance the understanding of equality, diversity, and inclusion, especially of senior decision makers and governors

4 Strengthen

Respond to the needs of our funders and members, grow and extend our impact inside and outside the UK to bring new insights and also raise the awareness of ECU’s work thereby increasing the impact of our work with UK institutions.

We will do this through:

  • encouraging dialogue and feedback on our programme of work so as to be more responsive, improve our service delivery and provide value for of funders and members
  • actively listening to our stakeholders through ongoing liaison and engagement so as to refine and improve the quality of our work
  • building on the success of international work so as deepen our understanding and also to increase our income which contributes to the core running of ECU
  • exploring new opportunities for ECU to deliver services and work with the aim of increasing our impact and expertise, and to diversify our income streams
  • learning from other organisations, sectors and countries to enhance our work and understanding

How we will deliver our work

Underpinning this strategic plan will be operational plans and annual programmes of work. These take into consideration our diverse funding sources and the need to deliver different for our members and funders.