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Equalitylink December 2014


Welcome December 2014

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, and in colleges in Scotland. Equalitylink is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector.

Equality update

Equality statistics highlight need for focused support

ECU statistical report shows more to do

Focused support for staff and students is needed to transform higher education into a more inclusive culture, according to our analysis of the latest equality and diversity statistics, published on 18 November 2014.

Older students, younger staff, disabled staff and students, women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds need more focused support from their universities.

Equality in HE: statistical report 2014

Diversity vital for excellence, say vice-chancellors

Equality at the heart of university mission

Vice-chancellors and principals from across the sector outline their conviction that equality and diversity are integral to being an excellent university in an ECU report launched last month.

Based on in-depth interviews with leaders of 12 universities, 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.

Rationale for equality and diversity

Extremism on campus

Powers to ban speakers from university campus

The counter-terrorism and security bill, introduced to parliament this week by the home secretary, Teresa May, will require universities to have policies to deal with ‘extremist speakers’ on campus.

The bill is also intended to ensure universities and other public bodies guard against radicalisation and extremism.

Universities could be forced to ban ‘extremists’ under new law Times Higher Education

PSED reporting requirements in Scotland

Guidance from EHRC

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland has published a briefing to provide listed public authorities with information about the steps they should take to meet reporting requirements in 2015.

All listed public authorities for the public sector equality duty are required to publish:

  • A mainstreaming report
  • Annual employee information together with details of the progress made in gathering and using the information to better meet the duty
  • A report on progress made towards achieving equality outcomes published in 2013
  • Public authorities with 150 staff or more must also publish updated gender pay gap information

EHRC Scotland briefing

Equality and diversity good practice fund

Thirty further education providers awarded grants

This year ECU is administering the Skills Funding Agency Equality and diversity good practice fund. This awards grants for projects that advance equality, diversity and inclusion for learners in the further education (FE) sector in England.

ECU has announced 30 successful bids. The projects will begin in December 2014 and run until June 2015.

Equality and diversity good practice fund

Our work

ECU conference: Achieving equality

Record numbers discuss transforming the HE culture

One hundred and eighty-eight delegates joined ECU across the two days of our national biennial conference in Liverpool on 17-18 November.

The conference, which sold out weeks before the event, was ECU’s best attended and most successful yet. We were delighted with the range of delegates that attended, which included vice-chancellors, HR directors, heads of student services and equality and diversity practitioners.

Achieving equality: transforming the higher education culture focused on practical ways to ensure higher education institutions are inclusive and pathways to progression and success are open for all staff and students.

Themes of the conference included strong leadership, innovation and an understanding that equality is an integral part of a university’s mission. Maggie Kinloch, deputy principal at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Professor Julius Weinberg, vice-chancellor of Kingston University delivered particularly inspiring key note speeches, which delegates pointed out, ‘brought a few to tears’.

Read our Storify summary of the event.

Those attending valued the space to ‘think, discuss and reflect on key equality and diversity issues’, enjoyed being part of ‘a genuinely diverse group’ and appreciated the opportunity to network. Many people found the sessions ‘refreshingly practical’, although others would have liked more examples of how to enact change, and to have had the chance to attended more than two workshops.

Many delegates felt they would be taking action back at their universities following the event, including committing to action in particular service areas, or where they had identified gaps. Some felt that making a change at higher levels in their institution might be challenging, but another delegate felt that they were now ‘armed with a new rationale and confidence’ to help them combat ‘old school resistance’ back in the workplace.

We had great levels of engagement and interaction on social media, with people sharing information and key points with those who couldn’t be there. Follow the conversation as it happened on Twitter: #ecu2014.

Presentations from the two days will shortly be available for delegates through the event website.

If you attended but didn’t complete a feedback form on the day, we would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to fill one out.

Feedback form

What services do you need from ECU?

Stakeholder survey now open

We want to ensure we continue to provide the right services and resources to support you and your institution to advance equality and diversity.

We’re inviting all higher education stakeholders to participate in our survey – your opinion is invaluable in helping us assess our impact and in informing priorities and areas of work for the future.

The survey is open until 17 December 2014. Three respondents will be picked at random after the closing date to receive £50 John Lewis vouchers.

If you have received an individual email asking you to take part, please follow the link provided in the email.

ECU stakeholder survey 2014

ECU’s Athena SWAN and gender equality charter mark to merge

What are the implications for your institution?

ECU’s Athena SWAN charter will be expanding in April next year to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines.

This will bring the Athena SWAN Charter together with our gender equality charter mark following the successful trial held earlier this year.

We are currently developing and aligning processes to ensure the expansion is effective and meets the needs of current Athena SWAN members, the institutions that took part in the gender equality charter mark trial, and those of you considering joining either charter.

Further details and take part in the consultation

Closing date: Monday 8 December 2014

Get involved

Become a panellist for our charter marks

Participating in an equality charter mark panel gives you an invaluable insight into the assessment process. You will come away with a detailed understanding of what panels are looking for and insight into how other institutions analyse their data and make progress on their their action plan. Reading through multiple applications will also give you plenty of good practice ideas to implement in your institution.

Becoming a panel member also gives you an opportunity to share your equality and diversity knowledge and/or subject expertise with peers from other institutions. It is an opportunity to build your professional networks and knowledge of equality and diversity.

We are currently seeking panellists with the following roles and specialisms:

  • Academics
  • Professional services staff
  • Equality and diversity practitioners
  • HR practitioners
  • Representatives of research councils, research institutes, learned societies and professional bodies
  • Students
  • Industry representatives where applicable

More information about becoming a panellist

Governing bodies in Scotland

ECU is seeking the views of Scottish university governors and secretaries

We are developing guidance to support governing bodies in Scotland to meet equality and diversity responsibilities. This will include guidance on assurance of equality and securing a more diverse membership.

To ensure this guidance meets the needs of governing bodies, we are seeking information and views from Scottish university governors and secretaries.

Survey for governing bodies

Closing date: Wednesday 3 December 2014

Call for papers: developing diversity competence

Equality and diversity in learning and teaching in Scottish higher education

We are inviting contributions to the second Equality Challenge Unit and Higher Education Academy Scotland joint conference supporting equality and diversity in learning and teaching in Scottish higher education.

We’re looking for abstracts for:

  • Workshops
  • Individual papers
  • Panels of papers
  • Debates

We welcome submissions from a range of people, including learning and teaching practitioners, equality and diversity practitioners and researchers.

We are particularly interested in hearing from students including students’ association presidents and sabbatical officers, undergraduate students, postgraduate students and postgraduate researchers.

Call for papers: developing diversity competence

Management of religion and belief issues

Share your good practice for our guidance

We are seeking examples from HEIs in the UK and colleges in Scotland to include in our revised guidance on religion and belief. We are currently looking for examples of:

  • religion and belief policies/statements
  • policy and practice in relation to staff and students wearing religious dress and artefacts
  • interfaith and good relations work, including how you measure impact
  • how the religious requirements of students and staff are met during exam times
  • catering provision that meets the needs of different faiths and how this is publicised
  • prayer/faith practice facilities
  • any steps taken to accommodate religion and belief in the teaching and learning environment
  • codes of conduct that make specific reference to religion and belief

Share your good practice

Student and graduate disability disclosure

Online survey

My Plus Consulting, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is undertaking research looking into how open students and recent graduates who are disabled or have a long-term health condition are when applying for internships, vacation schemes and graduate schemes.

They have launched an online survey designed to increase understanding of issues relating to the disclosure of a disability or long-term health condition and openness. The results will be used to help employers put in place the relevant support during the recruitment process, thereby encouraging openness from applicants.

The survey is open to all students currently studying at university, as well as those who have graduated in the last 2-3 years. In return for participating in the survey, students can be entered into a draw to win an iPad.

Great with disability: openness survey

Learning difficulties: contribute a case study

To promote the UK’s education and training offer around special educational needs to an international audience, UK Trade and Investment Education is preparing a prospectus of the UK’s capabilities around learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

UKTI are looking for case studies of UK organisations that have provided their SEN-related services or products to customers, preferably in an overseas context, but they are also interested in strong UK examples.

The case studies (around 200 words) should cover:

  • the context
  • the client’s desired outcomes
  • your solution
  • evidence demonstrating the impact of your work

To submit a case study, email Hedd Megchild, Policy Advisor, UKTI.

Resources and support

Supporting disabled students’ transitions from higher education into employment

What works?

ECU recently published research into what support practices exist across HEIs to help disabled students find employment, with a particular focus on the provision of support for disabled students.

National statistics highlight an employment gap between disabled and non-disabled graduates. This employment gap varies between different higher education institutions (HEIs), and for disabled people with different impairments.

Improving employment outcomes for disabled graduates requires reflection across organisations as to how current practices potentially disadvantage disabled people, and how these practices can be changed. University careers services, in particular, can play a key role in supporting disabled students and graduates into employment.

This guidance provides information on how university careers services can support disabled students and graduates into employment.

Supporting disabled students’ transitions into employment

New ACAs guidance on shared parental leave

ACAS has published a detailed guidance note on the new shared parental leave rules, together with supporting material including standard letters and a policy document.

Shared parental leave is a new legal entitlement for eligible parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.

  • Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.
  • Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to shared parental leave and pay.
  • If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, with her partner or the child’s father, opt for shared parental leave instead of maternity leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements, they will need to decide how they want to divide their shared parental leave and pay entitlement.
  • Paid paternity leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and a mother’s or adopter’s partner. However additional paternity leave will be removed.

ACAs shared parental leave guidance

Embedding equality in outcome agreements: toolkits

All colleges, higher education institutions and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have a legal duty to mainstream equality across their work under the Equality Act 2010 public sector equality duty (PSED) Scottish duties. Outcome agreements are a key vehicle through which mainstreaming can be achieved.

ECU has published briefings for staff involved in developing outcome agreements in Scottish higher education institutions and colleges and new 2015/16 toolkits.

Embedding equality in outcome agreements

The rationale for equality and diversity

How vice-chancellors and principals are leading change

This research looks at the broadest interpretation of the business case for equality and diversity in higher education institutions and suggests how vice-chancellors and principals can lead change.

Rationale for equality

Equality statistical reports

ECU’s statistical reports aim to help universities and colleges to identify and understand the main equality challenges and trends.

You can also download data tables to help you access and analyse the data.

Colleges in Scotland

National student equality data report for colleges in Scotland. It is provided as a tool to help the sector to identify and understand the main equality challenges for students, and help colleges to direct their efforts to meet and remove these challenges.

Equality in colleges in Scotland: statistical report 2014

Equality in HE

Charting the equality challenges for, and successes of, the higher education sector across the UK. This report includes equality information on staff and students.

Equality in HE: statistical report 2014

ECHR factsheet on gender identity case law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has published an updated factsheet on gender identity issues. The factsheet looks at case-law and pending cases on gender identity in Europe.

Factsheet on gender identity issues

There are 50 other case law factsheets on a range of topics available on the ECHR website.

More ECHR case law factsheets


UK Disability history month

22 November – 22 December 2014

Disability history month is an annual event creating a platform to focus on the history of disabled people’s struggle for equality and human rights and raise awareness.

Let us know what you are doing – tell us about the events you are organising or attending and we will help spread the word.

Tweet us the details @EqualityinHE

What makes a silver research institute?

12 December 2014, London

An afternoon of presentations and discussion to support research institutes when applying for Athena SWAN silver awards.

The event is free of charge for representatives of research institutes which are members of the Athena SWAN Charter. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

What makes a silver research institute?

Rosa Parks symposium: power of one – reconceiving the legacy of Rosa Parks

16 December 2014, Bradford

This annual symposium, organised by University of Bradford and Bradford Council celebrates the life of Rosa Parks and reflects on the implications of her contributions to the race equality agenda.

This will be the 10th anniversary of the symposium and aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration on equality and diversity, explore the place of equality under the current legislative climate in the UK and identify and discuss strategies and challenges in promoting equality and diversity.

Speakers include ECU’s chief executive David Ruebain, former NBA basketball player John Amaechi OBE and Simon Woolley, the founder and director of Operation Black Vote.

Rosa Parks symposium

Equality and diversity: progress and challenges in leading researchers

26 January 2015, London

This conference organised by Vitae looks at equality and diversity within the research environment. Presentations will cover progress made, sector drivers, mainstreaming and unconscious bias.

Speakers include Professor Athene Donald, University of Cambridge, Professor Yvonne Galligan, Queens University Belfast and Professor Michelle Ryan, University of Exeter.

Progress and challenges in leading researchers

If you would like your event to be featured on our website and the next issue of Equalitylink, please email details to Gemma Instrall, Stakeholder Communications Officer.