Inclusivity is quickly becoming one of the most challenging issues of higher education. Inclusivity is also having an impact on how successful higher education is at preparing students for the society and work environment of today and tomorrow. More than that, higher education has a responsibility to ensure that talented people, whoever they may be, get into higher education. Inclusivity must be systemic. Higher education must be inclusive in its operation, in its student recruitment, but also in the knowledge delivered to students. This requires different actions at different levels, but in all cases involving all stakeholders. Kedge is committed to helping higher education meet the challenge of developing an inclusive measurement model consisting of two tools.
Universities and schools are taking the subject in hand, but their policies are often disparate, and they lack tools to monitor the impacts of their actions. The most current measurement is to distribute questionnaires of perception to students. This is a first step, but it has two biases: Measuring perception is not sufficient to know whether higher education is inclusive, and measuring student perception does not address all stakeholders in higher education. To address that gap, Kedge created developed and pilot tested an “Inclusivity Index” that measures both the level of awareness of stakeholders, and four essential dimensions: disability, gender, social openness, and identity in the broadest sense. These four dimensions are measured against 31 indicators for all the stakeholders, students, alumni, employees, and partners, to ensure that each stakeholder-dimension combination is measured. The levels of inclusivity of each dimension are assessed but not ranked, as assessing is a great lever of progression. The tool calculates an overall level of inclusivity but also allows to see results classed by dimension or by stakeholder. This tool gives a picture at any given time of the composition of all the stakeholders of higher education and goes beyond perception of stakeholders alone. The second tool is a perception questionnaire for all employees and students. This double measure will ensure a global view of inclusivity. We will know, for example, how many stakeholders are reported to have a disability but at the same time whether the higher education environment is welcoming to them.
Several studies show that diversity and inclusivity are performance levers because they increase creativity and enrich decision-making (e.g. Khan, 2009 ; Homberg and Bui, 2013) They are therefore essential in higher education for both the working and learning environment. Kedge’s inclusive measurement model is intended to help define an action plan for the institutions and to monitor the impact of these actions thanks to the various indicators. The development of this double tool will enable higher education institutions to measure their progress on diversity, to stimulate a supportive and collaborative community of good practice, and to design, implement and evaluate inclusive practices. The future steps of the research agenda would be to share this initiative and create a circle of higher education organisations that together will assess their inclusivity level to make an impact in our community and beyond. If you are interested in collaborating on this project, do not hesitate to contact us.
See more articles from Vol.16 Issue 02 – GRLI.