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Enabling equality: Furthering disability equality for staff and students in HE

This insights event will draw on findings the Advance HE report on disabled staff (2011) and the Advance HE Staff Statistical report (2021) and review how the landscape has changed over the past decade for disabled staff in higher education

This short virtual event will draw on findings from the recently launched Advance HE 2021 Equality in Higher Education Statistical reports and look to see what has changed since the 2011 Advance HE report on disabled staff was published. In this event, we will discuss what progress has been made, and how the support landscape has changed over the past decade for disabled staff and students in higher education. The event will also focus on the latest research findings arising from the Disabled Students’ Commission, including how the pandemic has affected learning and teaching pedagogies and the impact of remote learning and mental wellbeing. The impact of those changes on staff will also be considered.

The event will include insights from the Advance HE 2021 Equality in Higher Education Statistical reports and the, presenting the latest data and providing comparisons and commentary on progress over the last decade; key findings arising from the Disabled Students’ Commission; a keynote speaker; a panel session comprising key speakers representing both staff and student perspectives, followed by the opportunity to discuss these issues in smaller breakout groups.

Discussions will focus on a variety of areas that still remain a challenge for the sector including:

  • issues around disclosure and non-visible disabilities,
  • access to work support,
  • the disability pay gap,
  • inclusive assessment,
  • positive culture changes since the pandemic, and
  • staff and student mental wellbeing.

Date: 25 November 2021
Location: Virtual
Who: all HE academic and support staff, EDI practitioners and senior leaders with an EDI remit

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9.30am - Welcome and Introduction - Hannah Borkin and Panagiota Sotiropoulou, Researchers (Mixed Method), Advance HE

9.35am - Advance HE Statistics Report Presentation - Hannah Borkin and Panagiota Sotiropoulou

10am - Keynote - Professor Geoff Layer, Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton

10.30am - Break

10.40am - Panel session
Chair: Kate Lister, Associate, Advance HE
Dr Katherine Deane, Associate Professor in Research and Access Ambassador, University of East Anglia
Amelia McLoughlan, Disabled Students UK National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NASDN)
Beatrix Livesey-Stephens, Disabled Students' Representative, National Union of Students (NUS)

11.30am - Break

11.40am - Delegate discussion: Looking forward

12.15pm - Next steps and recommendations

12.25pm - Closing remarks

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Who is delivering the event?

Hannah Borkin

Researcher (Mixed Method)
Advance HE
Hannah Borkin joined Advance HE’s Research team in February 2019 and has since led on a number of externally funded equality, diversity and inclusion research projects. This includes conducting bespoke equality audits of UK-based HE providers. The audits involve undertaking reviews of EDI policies to ensure they are compliant and competitive, as well as conducting focus groups for students and staff.

Panagiota Sotiropoulou

Researcher (mixed methods)
Advance HE
Panagiota Sotiropoulou-545x363px.jpg
Panagiota (Peny) Sotiropoulou joined Advance HE in 2021 as a mixed-methods researcher. Her main interests lie in EDI considerations in HE, with a special focus on issues related to race and ethnicity.
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Professor Geoff Layer

Geoff Layer recently retired as Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, having worked for over 40 years in post compulsory education. He is now working on strategic development for Coventry University.

Katherine Deane

Associate Professor
University of East Anglia
Dr Katherine Deane
Dr Katherine Deane is an Associate Professor in Healthcare Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich. Her research investigates the everyday management techniques needed to maximise wellbeing in people with long term conditions and disabilities.

Beatrix Livesey-Stephens

Committee Member
National Union of Students (NUS)
Bea Livesey-Stephens
Bea Livesey-Stephens is the Disabled place on the National Union of Students Liberation Campaign Committee. She was previously the convener of the AUSA Disabled Students Forum.

Panel Chair

Kate Lister

Expert Associate
Advance HE
Kate Lister
Kate is Head of Academic Professional Development at Arden University, a Researcher in accessibility and inclusion at the Open University, and an expert Associate at Advance HE.
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Related blogs and resources

Disabled Students' Commission

This independent and strategic group takes responsibility for advising, informing and influencing higher education providers to improve support for disabled students.

Through a competitive process, Advance HE was awarded funding by the Office for Students to support the Disabled Students’ Commission for three years. Advance HE has responsibility for providing secretariat support, as well as overseeing the management, coordination and dissemination of research and other DSC outcomes.

Find out more and view outcomes