South West College Embedding Diversity Review Report published

South West College Embedding Diversity Review Report published
January, 2014
South West College recently held a launch for the research report conducted in relation to the College’s commitment to equality and diversity.  The Institute of Conflict Research (ICR) was commissioned by the South West College earlier in 2012 to review the College’s commitment to embedding diversity across its four Campuses.  The published report complements the College’s strategic developments in embedding good relations at all campuses. The report was written by John Bell (lead researcher), Michael McCloskey and Dr Orna Young from the ICR, Belfast, and facilitated by the College’s Equality Officer Tom Bradley. The publication of this review further strengthens the College’s long term commitment to providing an inclusive learning environment for all staff and students.

Tom Bradley, Equality Officer, said; "At South West College, we are committed to fostering good relations and cultural diversity across all our campuses in the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh.  The main findings from the report highlight that the College management is committed to promoting equality and diversity and that numerous new initiatives have been undertaken to provide platforms for engagement with staff and students from all areas of the College".

A positive development highlighted by the research was that in 2013 students appeared to be more aware of a wider array of diverse groups than had been the case in 2007.  Celine McCartan, Head of Corporate and Student Services, believes that this is due to a new engagement strategy adopted by the College; "There have been a number of key developments in relation to policies and procedures that our students have been actively involved in writing.  Students have also had the opportunity to attend focus groups and training sessions to raise awareness of cultural diversity. Various related topics such as race, disability, and religion are up for discussion in an inclusive way, so students’ opinions are actively taken on board and valued".

The research also found that there has been a high level of development since 2007 in terms of the improvement in the levels of detail in information on students collected by the College.  This type of College monitoring is allowing for a more strategic approach in recruitment and retention.  This finding is complemented by the researcher’s confidence that the "College has an ethos of promoting diversity as something to be celebrated and respected, and staff and students generally viewed each campus as both a safe and welcoming environment for all communities".