Diversity in educational organizations and corporations: opportunities and dilemmas for improving learning (Cloud 8)

EAPRIL Cloud 8 Diversity & Equality in Different Contexts organised an online conference titled ‘Diversity in educational organizations and corporations: opportunities and dilemmas for improving learning’ on Friday September 27, 2019. The event was an opportunity to share and discuss research findings, progress with on-going projects, policy developments and good practice around the conference theme.

There were four presenters. We began with  Kerry Pace, the founder of ‘Diverse Learners’ providing Disability Support and Training for the healthcare sector and healthcare education. Kerry spoke about enhancing access to specialist support via the internet for students who have disabilities. Mark Lyn’s presentation posed the question ‘What’s wrong with saying teachers with disabilities have special education needs?’ as he told us about his research at the University of Roehampton in trying to understand wider issues of diversity and equality in the workplace.

‘Diversity policy for education employees: it takes three to tango’ was the intriguing title of the presentation by Elke Emmers (University College Leuven Limburg, Belgium), which covered aspects of the economic arguments for greater workforce inclusion and equality as well as identifying some unintended consequences of initiatives by employers. Kathy Martyn (University of Brighton) connected theory and practice through examples of difficult cases in professional education in a presentation titled ‘The problem with work – understanding ableist attitudes to inclusion in professional education’.

The online conference allowed colleagues to make their presentations from wherever they were in Europe. As well as participants asking presenters questions face to face, participants used the chat function to pose questions and make observations during the conference so everyone could participate. The presentations will be posted on the Cloud 8 LinkedIn group where we will continue the conversation. Our thanks to everyone who presented and participated as well the EAPRIL office and executive for their invaluable support with making this event a success.

Come to the various Cloud 8 sessions throughout the annual conference in Tartu, Estonia to find out more including the spotlight session where we will be asking the question ‘Who cares for the Teachers?’ as we explore the wellbeing of teacher’s and lecturer’s in challenging times.

Nick Gee, Anthony Thorpe, Eila Burns and Kaija Peuna-Korpioja, Cloud 8 coordination team