Equality and Diversity
Council of University Classical Departments Equality and Diversity Project
Why we are doing this
Equality and diversity are crucial for a number of reasons: first, we should treat people fairly. The opportunity to study and participate in our discipline should be available to all regardless of heritage or personal circumstances, and the discipline itself will benefit from the widest possible range of perspectives. Classics, and the arts and humanities in general, need to recruit a more diverse student and staff body, so that the discipline can continue to be relevant to society.
After deliberations at Council, the Standing Committee of CUCD decided to undertake a project on equality and diversity in the discipline. Prof. Gesine Manuwald (secretary) gained funding from UCL to support the project. Jointly with Prof. Helen Lovatt (chair), she is running the project, supported by a working group (both members of CUCD standing committee and volunteers). The main aims are:
1. To gather data on the current state of the discipline, both from existing data sources (e.g. Higher Education Statistics Agency) and by undertaking surveys as necessary.
2. To write a report reflecting on best practice, problems and what can be done to improve.
This survey is part of CUCD’s determination to support university Classics departments across the UK in developing best practice.
What has been done already
We have drawn on a number of UK surveys recently conducted both in the discipline and beyond (for example, the Royal Historical Society surveys 2019 on race and gender). In particular, the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) undertook a survey on experiences of gender discrimination in 2015. This focused on women in Classics, particularly at moments of professional vulnerability, and revealed significant problems with discrimination, casualisation, work-life balance and sexual harassment. We aim to build on this existing data and gather further information, with the intention of sharing what we learn and using it to enable change.
What we are doing in the project
We are planning several surveys, starting with a survey aimed at UK Higher Education staff and postgraduates in Classics, about experiences of discrimination and inclusion. A further survey will investigate departmental policies and procedures about equality and diversity through Heads of Department. We will also survey journal editors for statistics on submission and acceptance rates. In the future, we would also like to find out about undergraduate students and their experiences, and from school teachers and applicants about improving diversity in undergraduate recruitment.
How did we go about making the surveys
This survey has been through a number of drafts and consultations. We are very grateful to those who have helped, especially members of the WCC UK steering committee and our own working group on the project. We included perspectives of people in various situations in our consultation, including women, BAME scholars, people with disabilities and caring responsibilities, gay scholars and people from backgrounds that do not normally send students to university or to study Classics. We have also taken advice from a specialist in representativeness and measurement quality of online surveys.
Results and dissemination
We will analyse the results and produce a report based on the surveys and data gathering exercises. We aim to use this report to change practices for the better in the discipline. We will disseminate it via the CUCD Bulletin and in papers at the Classical Association Conference 2021 and other conferences. We intend to continue working on these issues and will aim to team up with other subject associations to undertake further research, or run focus groups or events to sustain learning and discussion. Questions If you have any questions about the survey or the project, please contact us on CUCDequality@gmail.com.