Diversity and inclusion in UK Higher Education: Staff perspectives on institutional representations and their reality

Kendall Richards*, Nick Pilcher, Laurent Galbrun, Alan Mark Forster, James Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This paper examines staff perspectives on institutional representations of a range of areas of diversity and inclusion in a key post-compulsory education sector: that of UK Higher Education (HE). The paper focuses on comparing representational statements made by institutions with the reality of their lived experiences as perceived by staff. The paper first reviews literature around key issues of promoting and progressing in these areas, and how these areas are represented by institutions and the sector as a whole. It presents and discusses data from a survey (n = 300) to show strong agreement with representational statements as mirroring those of institutions, yet statistically significant differences between representations and the reality of lived experiences, particularly in relation to the lived experiences of staff. These data are discussed in the light of progress made by institutions, and the challenges faced in translating representations into real lived experience. Suggestions for institutions and policy makers are made to help better align reality with these representations in the UK Higher Education sector and, theoretically, for post-compulsory education sectors elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-669
Number of pages23
JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Higher education
  • Neoliberalism
  • UK
  • inclusion
  • rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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