Teaching & Learning


Equality and diversity in teaching: three quick tips

13 November 2015


A recent UCL Arena Essentials interactive session explored the Equality Act 2010 and how it facilitates inclusive teaching practices. Harriet Jones (Policy Adviser for Athena SWAN, UCL Equalities and Diversity, Human Resources) shared tips for best practice.

Know the Act

The Equality Act 2010 provides comprehensive legislation on discrimination in the workplace and in society. Section 91 of the Act applies directly to Higher Education and describes Higher Education and Further Education institutions’ obligations towards their students.

Review this act to know what you are legally required to do and what is not permissible. An overview of the Act is available on the UCL Equalities and Diversity website. The UCL academic manual also contains policy specific to the university.

Listen out for ‘micro-aggressions’

A recent global project looked at the experiences of students across universal campus’ and found that many had been subjected to ‘micro-aggressions’ – comments that are consciously or unconsciously grounded in stereotype and bias. Research has suggested that these statements undermine a sense of belonging, which in turn can affect attainment. The ‘I too am Harvard’ campaign was launched to draw attention to micro-aggressions experience by black and minority groups on campus – similar campaigns have taken place at other universities.

You may hear these comments around campus or within your contact time – if it’s a certain ‘micro-aggression’ and another student is uncomfortable with what has been said, it’s a good idea to challenge the assumptions behind what’s been said. There is a new online course available on moodle on unconscious bias which you may find useful.

Draw on a broad range of sources

Is your curriculum diverse enough? The recent UCLU campaign ‘Why is my Curriculum white?’ challenged the assumption that only euro-centric sources make for a rich and fulfilling learning experience. There is a real need and scope to create an ‘inclusive’ curriculum rather than something perceived as ‘other’.

As part of the Connected Curriculum initiative, staff and students are welcome to join the ‘Liberating the curriculum’ working group - a space seeking to find ways of putting black, queer, disabled, and feminist contributions and critiques on an equal footing, in the curriculum.

Useful information: