Unconscious Bias training increases equality and diversity conversation at Brunel University
Brunel University is one of the world’s top 50 international universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016), and their vibrant campus is a reflection of an international student body from 110 countries around the world.
Given this diverse environment, it is important to Brunel to work with their staff and deliver training courses on Equality, Diversity and Unconscious Bias. This is crucial to their success in a competitive landscape, and also supports the University’s Athena Swan agenda
Biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences and can have a large impact when making influential decisions. These decisions can have their biggest impact when it comes to making important decisions for example, during recruitment and selection, approval, and promotion.
Unconscious Bias means constantly relating to the associations that we hold which, although outside our conscious awareness, may have a significant influence on our attitudes and behaviour. However fair minded we think we are, most people have some degree of unconscious bias.
Unconscious gender and racial biases still pervade academia and unconscious bias remains a big challenge in the higher education sector. As such, Brunel has made it their mission to “support the development of a culture where all may live, study and work without encountering prejudice or discrimination because of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or age.”
They were comfortable knowing that the course would deliver on the required learning outcomes around Unconscious Bias, and the modules were designed in an engaging way.
Harsha Buddhdev, Staff Development Diversity Consultant at Brunel University, says:
“Unconscious Bias is universal and it is time we said this openly and honestly. It starts by raising awareness as right now there is not enough research evidence to say for sure that this type of bias can be reduced, let alone eliminated.”
Unconscious Bias modules from Marshall E-Learning have been adapted and incorporated into individual training elements across Brunel, from recruitment to selection, to promotion and professional development including feedback and people management training.
As Harsha explains:
“Unconscious Bias has now become a conversation on campus. The video scenarios in particular, are well written and very much suited for the Higher Education environment.”