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Equalitylink November 2016


Welcome November 2016

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

A new approach to sexual violence in HE

UUK taskforce publishes recommendations

The Universities UK Taskforce to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students has published a report and a number of recommendations following a 12-month review of evidence.

The taskforce made a series of recommendations for universities and UUK, covering both prevention activities and how universities can respond to these issues more effectively in future.

Changing the culture: final report

The recommendations include that UUK reviews the 1994 Zellick guidelines, and produce new guidance for the sector on how to handle disciplinary issues that may also constitute a criminal offence.

New guidelines: How to handle alleged student misconduct which may also constitute a criminal offence

There has been criticism that the report doesn’t adequately address the issue of staff-student harassment. The taskforce has acknowledged this and will undertake further consultation to assess what can be done in this area.

Satisfaction levels for students differ by equality characteristics

Minority ethnic students less satisfied by their university experience

Research carried out with graduates 40 months after completing their course has found that most graduates are happy with the choices they made when they went to university. However, in general students from ethnic minority groups are less satisfied.

HEFCE’s analysis of the Destination of Leavers of Higher Education Longitudinal Survey found that black and minority ethnic groups were more likely to wish they had chosen a different university course.

Levels of satisfaction differ across ethnic groups, with the proportion of Black African graduates who say they would be likely to choose a different qualification 18 percentage points, and Chinese graduates nine percentage points, higher than for white graduates.

How satisfied are graduates with their degree choices?

Equality and the EU exit

Select committee call for evidence

The Women and equalities select committee has launched an inquiry to examine the implications of leaving the EU on equalities legislation and policy in the UK.

The inquiry, Ensuring strong equalities legislation after EU exit, is calling for written evidence by Wednesday 9 November. The committee is asking for evidence on legislation, courts, case law and appeals, and embedding equality principles.

Ensuring strong equalities legislation after EU exit

Religion and sexual orientation ruling

Court rules that refusing a ‘gay cake’ order was discriminatory

A court in Northern Ireland has ruled that a Christian-owned bakery’s refusal to make a cake supporting gay marriage was discriminatory.

The case, which was appealing a previous ruling against the bakers, highlights that there may be situations where tensions can emerge between people of a particular religion or belief and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans plus.

ECU’s 2010 guidance Advancing LGB equality includes a specific section on sexual orientation and religion and belief.

It notes that in universities, ‘pressures between different groups may be more likely to occur in shared spaces such as chaplaincies and student accommodation, or in the teaching of certain courses, such as theology. They may also emerge in students’ unions where orthodox religious and LGB student societies exist.’

This is an area where work around good relations on campus can be key in encouraging positive interactions between equality groups. It is also important to help people avoid stereotypes about the beliefs someone might hold because of their religion, or other protected characteristics. Training on unconscious bias can help with this.

‘Gay cake’ appeal: Christian bakers Ashers lose appeal(BBC)

Our work

ECU strategy 2017-2021 consultation

Your feedback informs our final strategy

Over the summer ECU undertook a UK-wide consultation to support the development of our new strategic plan for 2017-2021.

Forty-three institutions reviewed and commented on a draft version of the new strategy through our online consultation, and representatives from seven institutions attended a round-table discussion session.

Update on ECU’s strategy

Race Equality Charter

Abertay University first award-holder in Scotland

ECU is delighted to announce the ninth university to be successfully awarded a Bronze Race Equality Charter award. Abertay University is the latest institution to be successful in their application, and they are the first university in Scotland to achieve an award.

Race Equality Charter award

Let’s talk about race

A panel of academics, award holders and practitioners across the sector joined our Race Equality Charter and policy teams in a live webinar discussing race in HE on 20 October.

Designed to offer a safe space to discuss race in higher education, and the practicalities of furthering race equality on campus, our first live race webinar was well attended, with over 60 participants taking part.

Questions were submitted by participants, and also through twitter and email ahead of the webinar. Participants and panellists shared examples, useful research, articles and tools that they have used with success.

A number of suggestions have been made for future webinars on race in higher education. We’ll keep you informed of upcoming opportunities to be involved.

Athena SWAN Charter results

Number of expanded Athena SWAN awards increases

100 ECU Athena SWAN awards have been announced in the latest round – achieved by universities, research institutes and departments for their commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education.

The awards include the first Silver level institution award using the expanded Athena SWAN criteria, which includes arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments as well as STEMM subjects. The expanded criteria also includes gender equality for professional and support staff, rather than solely focusing on academic careers.

Athena SWAN awards

Subscribe for 2017

HEIs in England and Northern Ireland

Subscription to ECU for 2017 is now open for member institutions in England and Northern Ireland.

Let us know you will be renewing your subscription by completing a short online form.

Confirm your subscription

Universities in Wales, and universities and colleges in Scotland are automatically ECU members and do not have to confirm their resubscription.

Get involved

Make a difference to equality in HE: join the ECU team

Deputy Chief Executive/Head of policy and external relations

We’ve an exciting opportunity to join the ECU senior management team, as current Deputy CEO/head of policy and external relations Gary Loke undertakes a sabbatical following eight years with ECU.

We are seeking to recruit a Deputy CEO/Head of policy and external relations, to take lead responsibility for coordinating the work of the policy, research, training and learning and external relations functions and make a significant contribution to the development of ECU as it continues to advise and support the higher and further education sector on equality and diversity issues.

Can you bring your experience and passion for equality to this national role? This is a 12 month fixed term sabbatical cover role, and secondments are welcome.

Find out more in our current vacancies

Policy officer (Scotland)

We are seeking to recruit a Policy officer (Scotland) with responsibility for undertaking policy and stakeholder engagement activity in Scotland. The role will be based in our office in Edinburgh and occasional travel to London and within Scotland will be required.

Find out more in our current vacancies

Member support officer

As ECU approaches the end of our first year as a membership organisation, we are expanding our member engagement team. This role will play a key part in the development and implementation of new processes that effectively support the delivery of ECU’s benefits and services.

Find out more in our current vacancies

Connect, collaborate and share

ECU’s national conference 2016

ECU’s national conference, which will take place in Nottingham on 29 and 30 November, is now fully booked.

We are running a first-come-first-served waiting list if you would like to be notified if a place becomes free.

We will be tweeting during the two-day event, and presentations and materials from the day will be available online following the conference. Follow the hashtag #ecu2016 for updates throughout.

Sign up to the waiting list

Barriers faced by trans applicants

Call for participants for research project

The University of Strathclyde is undertaking a research project to better understand the barriers and challenges faced by trans applicants and those considering going to college and university, as well as students and staff within further and higher education in Scotland.

Are you a trans-identified or experienced applicant, student or staff member within a Scottish college or university? If so, the research team would like to hear from you. The researchers would also like to hear from those who have considered, or are currently considering, applying to college or university.

The online survey will take around 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey: Survey on Trans Experiences at College and University

Find out more about the research: Trans.Edu Scotland.

Resources and support

How to embed equality in outcome agreements

Toolkit for higher education institutions

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) issued revised guidance on outcome agreements for 2017 to 2020 on 5 October 2016.

We have produced a toolkit to support HEIs to address the equality related requirements of 2017-2020 outcome agreements.

It also outlines how to align development of outcome agreements with wider equality duties and reporting requirements.

The toolkit includes guidance on how to embed equality into outcome agreements, through:

  • using equality impact assessment as an essential tool
  • aligning and embedding information from existing and planned equality work, including equality outcomes and other key equality reporting, into the outcome agreement
  • addressing the SFC’s strategic equality aims and specific equality priorities.

A toolkit for colleges in Scotland will be available shortly.

How to embed equality in outcome agreements: HEI toolkit

ECU lunchtime webinar series: Recruitment

Diversifying your recruitment process

Join us for three webinars focused on recruitment, which asks ‘how fair is your recruitment process?’

The recruitment process is often the first point in their engagement with an organisation that minority groups can experience an adverse impact.

ECU’s latest webinar series will consider the recruitment process through the lens of diversity with a focus on how to tackle bias, promote inclusion and increase diversity.

Bringing together relevant academic research, the law and best practice from a variety of sectors these interactive webinars will consider three key stages of the recruitment process.

1: Attraction: 25 November, 12:30-13:30

  • Where and how to attract diverse applicants
  • The role of head hunters
  • Increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of person specifications and application forms

2: Shortlisting and assessment: 8 December 12:30-13:30

  • Challenges of assessment and shortlisting including bias in assessment
  • Positive action and practices and process that increase diversity

3: Interviews and selection: 9 December 12:30-13:30

  • Adverse impact in the interviewing process
  • Reducing bias in the interview process
  • Implementing relevant law such as the tie breaker
  • Tackling questions of fit and managing the transition of the ‘out group’ employee into their new team

Register now to take part in the webinars.


Gender Summit 9

8-9 November 2016, Brussels

The ninth international Gender Summit focuses on gender-based research, innovation and development for sustainable economies and societal wellbeing. Over 70 speakers and 300 delegates will be discussing how an understanding of sex/gender issues in research and innovation can also ensure sustainable and effective development.

Gender summit 9

Interrogating differential outcomes in degree awarding: towards a post-race pedagogy

16 November 2016, University of Chester

An event organised by the Forum for research into equality and diversity at the University of Chester. Dr Gurnam Singh and Professor Glynis Cousin will lead a seminar which will seek to provide a brief historical and contemporary overview of the issues commonly known as the BME attainment gap. In so doing, the seminar will highlight some of the contradictions and complexities of both conceptualising the problem of attainment and developing appropriate pedagogical interventions.

Interrogating differential outcomes in degree awarding

Dignity and respect on campus: dealing with bullying and harassment

17 November 2016, Bristol

Workshop for ECU subscribers focused on promoting dignity and respect on campus to deal with the challenges of bullying and harassment, evaluate institutional processes and share good practice.

Dignity and respect on campus

Athena SWAN Ireland seminar and awards reception

23 November 2016, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin

The annual Athena SWAN Ireland seminar and awards reception to recognise the ongoing commitment of institutions and departments to advancing women’s careers in STEMM employment in academia.

The programme will feature a seminar and awards presentation, followed by a celebratory reception. The seminar sessions will provide guidance to help institutions and departments further their Athena SWAN journey.

Athena SWAN Ireland seminar and awards

Teach well: embedding mental wellbeing in the curriculum

30 November 2016, York

A workshop from the Higher Education Academy to support lecturers, programme leaders and other interested parties.

Participants will develop confidence in dealing with key concepts around student wellbeing, and explore practical approaches to embedding it in and through the curriculum.

Teach well: embedding mental wellbeing in the curriculum workshop

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