Lack of diversity on college boards revealed in new report, along with steps to improve diversity in governance – FE News


Today (November 16), the Association of Colleges (@AoC_info) released a report revealing the makeup of higher education college boards across the country and attitudes toward inclusion.

In an effort to stimulate the participation of under-represented groups and improve diversity in governance, The current state of equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education in England makes a series of recommendations to help college boards meet their FDI goals.

An average board of directors is made up of 17 to 19 members.

The main findings include:

  • Almost half (46%) of councils reported 10 or more male members (8 in total could report 10 or more female)
  • Just under a third (32%) of boards of directors had no Asian / British members of Asian origin, while more than half (51%) did not report any black / black British board members
  • Just under two-thirds (63%) of boards of directors had no member declaring a physical disability
  • Less than 1% of councils had a member identifying as non-heterosexual or with a gender reassignment member
  • Nine in ten (90%) the councils were 2 or less under 24 years of age
  • Less than 20% of boards had members reporting a mental health problem

A high proportion of board members are confident in their boards’ intentions to promote EDI, but more cautious about the status of EDI implementation.

A qualitative analysis of the relevant college minutes of EDI and EDI annual report documents suggests that there is a polarization in the FE sector between colleges and boards that have already fully embraced EDI and those that have already fully embraced EDI. are currently seeking to achieve this goal.

Almost half (47%) have ‘formally integrated’ EDI or an EDI strategy as part of its’ core function ‘, but just under a third (31%) do not’ actively promote EDI ”or“ monitor ”it.

The report makes a series of recommendations to help more college boards improve their EDI results:

  • All boards should ensure that they have a clear and contextualized definition of EDI
  • Boards early in their EDI journey should identify models of best practice and work on things that fit their context.
  • Boards should put in place evidence-based strategies to promote EDI
  • Boards should ‘reserve’ efforts to improve EDI with audits of issues and results
  • The focus of efforts to promote EDI must be reoriented towards inclusion
  • Boards should identify the most effective training interventions to promote EDI
  • Boards should capitalize on their members’ enthusiasm for EDI activities
  • EDI policies should be regularly and conscientiously updated and maintained on websites in accordance with legal requirements
  • The government and other authorities should support the FE sector with resources
  • Research is needed to combine objective measurements with 360o IDE views

Association of Colleges CEO David Hughes said:

“We conducted this investigation and this research because we I know there is a tremendous amount of work to be done in recruiting governors from various backgrounds and communities. Colleges are among the most diverse institutions in the country in terms of students, but there is more work to be done to be representative among senior executives and leaders.

“This report provides a baseline to work on and highlight the challenges that remain around representation, diversity and inclusion in our sector. I wish colleges would use it to continue the honest conversations they started and the positive progress so many people have made on EDI over the past few months. This is a great opportunity to recognize where we are failing and put in place the strategies and plans to create the change.

Methodology: The research consisted of two main components, survey-based research and qualitative document analysis. A survey of governance professionals provided insight into the structure and composition of the Board of Directors. A survey of board members gathered individual opinions and personal experience of EDI. The two survey samples were convenience samples drawn from boards representing AoC member colleges. The return rate was 50% – 113 governance professionals and 328 board members.

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