Why engage with others?
We need to be aware of our 'blind spots' when developing our plans, making decisions and carrying out activities and, where we have 'blind spots', we need to engage more widely. There is no real harm in not knowing when it comes to EDI, but plenty of harm in pretending you do know and not finding out more about any potential bias or barriers. Qualitative data, such as interviews, surveys and focus groups, can help to explain why numbers increase, decrease or remain unchanged, helping us to take action to increase diversity and embed inclusion. For more information on Quantative Data sources available check our EDI Data page.
If you would like to understand more about your 'blind spots':
When to engage?
Before asking others, think whether you can gain this information from sources already available to you, so that you don't overburden the groups of people you are seeking to support. This also helps prevent consultation fatigue, ensuring we only engage with others when we need to.
Consider what information is already available from your professional body or academic discipline outlining known barriers to inclusion, which will help inform your work.
Further resources on the impact on different groups of people are available below:
Who to engage?
For an understanding of any potential barriers to inclusion, you may need to engage more widely with particular affinity groups (an affinity group is a group formed around a shared interest or common goal) or involve a more diverse range of staff or students in your discussions about plans, decisions or activities. Details of affinity groups for staff and links to where to find out more about affinity groups for students are available in the Affinity Networks section below.
Remember when considering EDI issues and engaging with others, we need to remember that no-one fits neatly into one equality tick box, as we all hold multiple identities, e.g. female who is disabled, older Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) male. This is known as intersectionality. Think about how people with multiple identities may be affected differently too and consider this when engaging with others.
If you would like to understand why groups can make better decisions than individuals:
How to engage?
There are many methods for engaging and the right method will depend on the work you are doing. Always remember, if you are asking others to share their experiences, you need to listen and value the feedback they are giving you, as they are helping you in your role to create a fairer and more inclusive University. An inclusive environment is one where there is:
- Fairness and respect
- Value and belonging
- Safe and open
- Empowered and growing
It is not always easy to make your views known, particularly when you are from an under-represented group or when you are challenging the status quo. Creating a safe and open environment for everyone to have their say is an essential part of creating a fairer and more inclusive University.
- Analysing Qualitative Data (Advance HE member only) – Staff only