The University’s Equal Opportunities Policy embodies its vision to integrate equality and diversity into all areas of the institution’s ethos, policy and practice.
The rich diversity of our students, staff and alumni is core and vital to the University’s distinctive and global reputation for academia and enterprise in the arts, communication and design. Our diversity informs our practice-led teaching and learning traditions, our innovation and our employment practices, producing inspired practitioners who are a dynamic, influential and leading force in the creative industries. Our vision is underpinned by the following values that we will work towards:
- We believe that equality and diversity is integral to our inclusive curriculum, our creative innovation, our global reputation and the richness of our University life. We are committed to addressing inequality and celebrating diversity in order to sustain an accessible and inclusive environment for all students, staff, alumni, governors, visitors, community and commercial partners with whom we engage.
- Reminding, developing and supporting our staff, students, governors, service users and external partners in understanding how equality and diversity is meaningful and relevant to the University on an individual, collective and institutional level.
- Prohibiting unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation on grounds of age, caring responsibilities, disability, gender, nationality, race, religious belief (or no belief), sexual orientation socio-economic class or trans and whether such an identity is actual or perceived or whether this is by association with persons from any of these equality strands. This will apply to all stages of the student and staff life cycle and to our engagement with service users, suppliers and external partners. Non-compliance will be investigated seriously within the University’s complaints and disciplinary procedures.
- Complying with the requirements of equality legislation and fulfilling all our statutory and regulatory duties. In specific circumstances where differential treatment may be required, we will use lawful exception or exemption, apply a genuine occupational requirement or positive action intervention to address historical and persistent disadvantage or under-representation, apply an academic admission requirement, or provide objective justification that constitutes a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
- Setting and monitoring targets to increase the presence of those traditionally under-represented and in accordance with the provision made by equality legislation, develop interventions to address the imbalance as appropriate.
- Regularly monitoring the recruitment, progress and experiences of all students and staff, paying particular attention to those protected in the aforementioned equality strands. We will endeavour to publish the results of our monitoring on an annual basis.
- Assessing University policies, strategies and functions for adverse impact upon staff and students, with respect to all the equality strands.
- Actively consulting on, communicating and promoting our Equality and Diversity Framework, ensuring accessibility for all students, staff, service users and partners and in particular, involve disabled people in these processes.
- Benchmarking our performance against the best and endeavour to network, collaborate and learn from best practice in the HE sector, equality and diversity field and from institutions and practitioners in the creative industries.
The Student Experience
Students will have a holistic University experience which is positive, fair and inclusive, from application to opportunities for employment and volunteering. To this end, we will work towards:
- Application — encouraging applications from a diverse range of potential students, and where appropriate, undertaking initiatives to attract applications from under-represented groups. We will ensure the publicity, information and guidance we produce displays diverse images, is available in accessible formats and meets the needs of potential students from diverse backgrounds.
- Admission — basing admissions solely on the student’s ability to meet the requirements of the selection criteria for competitive admissions and their potential to benefit from a successful completion of study. We aim to ensure that students of all backgrounds are not discriminated against at all points of the admissions process. Disabled applicants will be encouraged to discuss their particular requirements post-acceptance so that we can identify and accommodate reasonable adjustments that will enable them to participate fully as a student of the University.
- Induction — making all our students aware at induction of the ways in which this Policy affects them and their rights and responsibilities in relation to equal opportunities. This will apply particularly to equalities monitoring, opportunities to be involved in future equality research and the consultation activities and mechanisms that are in place to support and guide students with diverse needs. We will endeavour to inform all students of the facilities and resources available to them.
- Academic Progression — providing academic guidance and tutoring to support academic progression and with recognition and sensitivity to the different needs of students in relation to further education, undergraduate and postgraduate study.
- Withdrawal and Transfer — ensuring students have access to academic advice and guidance when considering withdrawal or transfer and monitoring any significant variations between different groups, including those belonging to the equality strands of age, caring responsibilities, disability, gender, nationality, race, religious belief (or no belief), sexual orientation, socio-economic class or trans.
- Curriculum and Course Design — regularly reviewing the design and content of the curriculum, timetabling and the teaching methods and materials used will be as part of existing processes to ensure that they are appropriate for our diverse student body and are compliant with our commitment to equality and accessibility.
- Assessment — ensuring that no bias exists in our assessment policy and practice and making reasonable adjustments to assessment methods to meet the needs of disabled students.
- Work Placements — ensuring that where work placements are offered the arrangements are proportionate, transparent and provide students with comparable opportunities and experiences as far as possible. Providers will be informed of their responsibilities through our Equality Framework and we will incorporate measures to monitor progress to ensure that the learning opportunities provided are appropriate and will refer to relevant sectoral guidance. Employment obstacles faced by disabled and BME students will receive particular attention.
- Research — encouraging and supporting diversity in both staff and student research activities and addressing the recruitment of postgraduate research students from under-represented groups.
- Student Support Services — offering support services that provide information, advice, guidance and counselling sensitive to the background, learning and support needs of all students. Accessibility issues will be reviewed as regularly as possible.
- Complaints and Appeals —All students will be made aware of the mechanism for reporting instances of discrimination or harassment through the University complaints procedure.
- Course Validation– We aim to include equality considerations into the course validation process.
- Employment Outcomes — Ensuring employability is an important element of the learning experience and we will work towards monitoring any significant differences in first destination between all groups of students of all backgrounds and academic levels.
The staff experience
This policy covers every aspect of the employment of staff, and will be issued to all following appointment at the University. Working in the ways described will mean we recruit and retain staff of the highest quality who will be motivated by the creative and diverse environment in which they work. To this end, we will work towards:
- Recruitment and Selection — ensuring that no bias exists in all stages of the recruitment and selection process. We will encourage applications through open competition and from all groups. Word of mouth recruitment as the sole method of selection will be unacceptable. Advertisements, placement of advertising and recruitment information will reflect this. Appointments will be made on personal merit and performance. Every member of a selection panel will be required to attend the University’s ‘Managing Equality and Fairness in Recruitment and Selection’ training programme. Each panel should aim to be diverse in terms of its gender and ethnic mix. Recruitment will be sensitive to the access requirements of disabled applicants at all stages of the process.
- Contractual Status and Work-Life Balance — where possible and on request, giving due regard to offering contracts that are appropriate to the type of work and accommodate the needs of those who wish to balance employment with caring responsibilities, reasonable adjustment needs, faith observance or other interests.
- Job Description, Grading, Pay and Benefits — through job descriptions and person specifications, job evaluation and reward policy, ensuring that there is equal pay for work of equal value.
- Induction — as part of their inductions, making sure staff, and in particular line managers, are aware of their responsibilities through online diversity training, in their Welcome Packs and in the setting of their objectives for Planning, Review and Appraisal.
- Probation — ensuring decisions on probation are based solely on the ability of staff to undertake duties and responsibilities of the role, to the standards required, and take into consideration any reasonable adjustments made to meet individual needs.
- Planning, Review and Appraisal — ensuring that through our Planning, Review and Appraisal scheme everyone has a regular opportunity to discuss their role, contribution and development. Decisions arising from these discussions will be fair and transparent. All staff will be required to comment on how they have demonstrated the University’s commitment to equality and diversity in their role.
- Employee Relations — ensuring that procedures to handle complaints or conduct disciplinary matters are enacted fairly and effectively. A Dignity at Work and in the Learning Environment programme will provide advice, support and the formal procedures for redress for those who believe they are experiencing or for those who have received allegations against them of harassment, bullying, victimisation or any other form of unlawful discrimination.
- Staff Development — ensuring fair access for all staff development opportunities. To maintain the University’s commitment to equality and diversity, every member of staff will be required to undertake mandatory training in equality and diversity. Managers will also receive specific training in addition to other support and resources from the Diversity Team and Human Resources.
- Career Progression — promotion being on merit. Those who have been given less opportunity in the past may benefit from targeted development programmes to enable them to compete fairly.
- Length of Service and Retention — aiming to create an environment where staff satisfaction levels are high and hence encourage loyalty, commitment and prolonged lengths of service at the University.
The UAL Equal Opportunities Policy forms part of the Equality & Diversity Framework which can be downloaded from the Student Diversity web pages.