The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), a body that centres on advancing equality and diversity across universities and colleges, has updated its online resources for academics. As the ECU says, these tools are aimed at “ensuring that higher education institutions are inclusive and accessible, and encourage good relations between the diverse groups that study, work, or otherwise engage with them”. Now located at http://ecu.wpengine.com/publications/e-and-d-for-academics-factsheets/, and further to a previous Equality and diversity for academics posting on this Teaching and Learning Blog, these resources “are designed to help raise awareness among academic staff of their responsibilities in this area and promote the development of equality and diversity expertise as a key competence for teaching and learning”. The four short ECU factsheets that colleagues might find to be particularly useful are as follows:
- The legal framework: England, Wales – as this document says, “domestic and European legislation relating to equality and human rights provides the context within which teaching and learning are delivered”;
- Inclusive practice – this resource states that inclusive practice “recognises the diversity of students, enabling all students to access course content, fully participate in learning activities and demonstrate their knowledge and strengths at assessment. Inclusive practice values the diversity of the student body as a resource that enhances the learning experience”;
- Pastoral care – in terms of pastoral care, it is clear that academic staff “have a critical role to play, being best placed to observe behaviour in the learning environment that might indicate that a student is in need of support. The relationship between academic achievement and resilience in dealing with personal issues is well documented, and a student who receives relevant and timely support in dealing with the problems of everyday life is more likely to have the energy and motivation to do well in their studies”; and
- Promoting good relations – finally, it is also readily apparent that academic staff also “have a critical role to play in promoting good relations in the design and delivery of courses, and in the relationships they build with students”.
More information on these resources is available from Abida Akram (Staff Development Adviser (Equality & Diversity), Staff Development) via email at A.P.Akram@lboro.ac.uk or by telephone on 01509 222389. Co-presented with Nick Allsopp (Head of Academic Practice, Teaching Centre), contactable via email at N.J.Allsopp@lboro.ac.uk or by telephone on 01509 564662, the ‘Designing for Inclusivity’ workshop which will make use of these materials is part of the Teaching Centre’s CPD provision for Loughborough University staff.