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Diversity monitoring data

30 Mar 2021 | Advance HE Advance HE publishes updated guidance on how to collect data about the identity characteristics of staff and students in UK higher education.

Following a series of consultative conversations with equality, diversity and inclusion organisations and sector bodies, Advance HE has updated its guidance on how to collect data about the identity characteristics of staff and students in UK higher education.  

The guidance contains recommended questions by Advance HE and statements to encourage participation which clearly explain why an institution is collecting the particular data, how it will be used and who will have access to it along with the potential benefits of the activity. 

A useful mapping exercise is also included in the updated guidance showing how Advance HE’s recommended questions and response options align with other data collection approaches, such as HESA and UK censuses.  

Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation & Delivery at Advance HE, said, “The collection of data on its own does nothing to advance staff and student equality but understanding the demographics of an institution and using that data is vital step using an evidence base to design initiatives to tackle issues related to inequality, checking that an initiative is having the desired effects and making changes as required. 

“This updated guidance provides helpful suggestions for our members, but when a diversity monitoring exercise is undertaken in a way that acknowledges and meaningfully recognises differences among staff and students, it plays an important role in identifying where change is required, and strengthens an institution’s equality, diversity and inclusion work.” 

Advice is provided for recommended question stems, response options and supplementary guidance for the following areas:  

  • Age  
  • Caring responsibilities  
  • Disability  
  • Ethnicity and race  
  • Gender  
  • Marriage and civil partnership  
  • Pregnancy and maternity  
  • Race and ethnicity  
  • Religion and belief  
  • Sexual orientation  
  • Social background  
  • Trans identity/history.  

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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