On these pages you will find:
Aston's Equality Objectives and Action Plan for 2012-13
Aston’s Annual Equality Report for the period December 5th 2010 to January 31st 2012 which reports on progress with the implementation of the University’s Equality Action Plan
Please let us know your views. If you require the report or data in an alternative format, please contact: Jane Tyrrell firstname.lastname@example.org
Equality Objectives: April 2012
Furthering Aston’s Strategic Objective to ensure that Aston is a great place to work and study [Aston 2020]
Aston University announces new Equality Objectives, following the publication of the Annual Equality Report and Equality Information in January 2012. These new objectives have been developed after consideration of:
the University’s new strategic objectives set out in Aston 2020
the progress made with the Action Plan for 2010/11 and the impact we believe these actions have had in achieving existing objectives
the monitoring data published along with this Report
feedback from staff and students through regular satisfaction questionnaires, targeted equality questionnaires and focus groups
Some of our objectives set out in 2010/11 remain in place, although the actions to support these have been reviewed to reflect progress made. These actions are detailed in the Equality Action Plan which can be found at: Equality & Diversity Action Plan
The following is a list of the University’s objectives with a brief rationale for their inclusion. Further detail of the data referred to can be found in the appendices to the Annual Report 2011 at: Staff Equality Data and Student Equality Data
1. Improve the Seniority Profile of the Institution by gender and ethnicity
A review of this year’s data shows that the Seniority Profile of the University by gender and ethnicity continues to be a priority, despite progress as regards the gender profile of women in senior support roles. There is a separate action plan to support this initiative at: Seniority Profile Action Plan
2. Improve the position of women in Science Engineering and Technology
We are building on the work we did to achieve the Athena Swan Bronze Award and working towards the Silver Award in the two relevant Schools of Study: Life and Health Sciences, and Engineering and Applied Science. We hope to accelerate our progress by increased focus on this issue. The Athena Swan action plan can be found at: Athena Swan Action Plan
3. Follow through work on Student Attainment and Ethnicity, bringing together the identified strands of good practice in learning and
teaching, and support services
We are continuing work on Student Attainment and Ethnicity. Despite an improvement in the attainment of students from BME backgrounds at Aston, the gap between BME and White students has not narrowed and we are reviewing our approach to this problem. For data on this gap see: Student Equality Data
Although the issue is one for Higher Education across the UK, we believe that we need to re-evaluate in order to move forward. In 2011 our year of Crossing Boundaries raised awareness of issues of ethnicity and culture across the University and we hope that this will serve as a springboard for a more focused approach.
4. Promote Inter-faith Understanding in the Aston University Community
Our work to develop a Multi-faith Chaplaincy has resulted in an active and valued team of chaplains and faith advisors from a range of faith backgrounds. The Multi-faith Chaplaincy receives exceptional ratings from students in our student satisfaction surveys. Our focus group with different faith groups also found a high level of satisfaction but identified a need for further inter-faith work to encourage better understanding between different groups.
5. Continue to improve University Experience for Disabled Students
The University adopts a pro-active approach to working closely with disabled students from the point of application and, over the past year, has introduced an effective SITS database for students with disabilities and additional needs. This has improved sharing of information between Schools and Support departments, giving easy access to up to date information on individual cases. This objective focuses on gaining a more comprehensive insight into different student experiences through a survey and developing an action plan to ensure that all students are well-supported during their University career. In addition there will be a focus on improving access to assessments for students who potentially have specific learning difficulties.
6. Raise awareness of Support available to disabled staff and carers
Our discussions with the Staff Disability Network have raised concerns about the unevenness of knowledge of both managers and employees across the University of the support that is available to disabled members of staff. In addition, it is felt that there is a need to improve awareness of specific health conditions and impairments. The actions included reflect our response to these concerns.
7. Review Progress on Dignity at Work and Study
In the Capita Staff Satisfaction Survey for 2011, 4% of respondents (29 people) reported that they felt harassed or bullied in the workplace. This compares with 5% in the 2008 survey. Only 45% of those who felt that they were being harassed had reported this and they listed a variety of reasons, including fears that nothing would happen and concerns about confidentiality and victimisation. Only 2 people reported that they were unaware of the procedures. With this feedback in mind, the University intends to revise, simplify and strengthen its reporting procedures and publicise these widely to ensure confidence in the policy and its implementation across the University.
8. Develope and promote Aston as a ‘Gay friendly’ place to work and study
Feedback from focus groups with LGTB staff and students showed that, despite many positive aspects of the experience for staff and students at Aston, there was a concern about casual homophobia and a perception that other equality issues were considered to be more important than sexual orientation. Our actions relating to this objective, therefore, focus on ways of engaging students and staff in a common aim to eradicate homophobia and communicate the many positive initiatives that are taking place to ensure equality of treatment for all students and staff.
9. Widening Participation: ensuring high potential students from all backgrounds can gain full benefit from University education and the social mobility that comes with professional careers
The University has a good record on widening participation but we are aware of the need to review our progress with groups of students not traditionally covered by the WP agenda. We are also concerned to ensure that our record is not detrimentally affected in the new fee regime. This objective will ensure that monitoring takes place of students from a wide range of protected characteristics. Measuring our performance will be the first step to working on solutions to any problems which may arise in the new Higher Education context.
Last updated December 2013