23 Dec | Diversity & Inclusion

New rankings measure how universities worldwide are performing

2019 saw the release of the first Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, which look at universities’ impact on society based on eleven of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These represent the world’s first global attempt to document evidence of universities’ broader impact on society, rather than just research and teaching performance.

The initiative is designed to capture unique insights on universities’ work and offers a new perspective on how they’re addressing some of the most pressing global issues. Unlike other ranking systems, which are designed to measure excellence and reputation, the THE University Impact Rankings are an assessment of performance against 11 SDGs that THE considers most salient to higher education. These new metrics constitute an important and necessary step forward in assessing how institutions are addressing some of the most important challenges facing both people and planet. There are 17 UN SDGs in total, which came into effect in 2016 with the support of 193 UN Member States. These set a 15-year agenda and call to action for all countries to end poverty, fight inequalities and build peaceful, just and sustainable societies.

Through the use of carefully calibrated indicators, comprehensive and balanced comparisons are made, with success covering a wide variety of societal and environmental impacts: research, stewardship, cultural institutions, civic and global outreach, professional services policies and processes, inclusion programmes, and contributions to economic wellbeing. Universities are required to provide evidence that demonstrates their activities, including examples that demonstrate best practice.

Alignment with the key strategic focus of the EGC

As the University of Lincoln’s interdisciplinary research centre for EDI, the EGC’s key role is to drive cultural change across the institution. As such, there are two SDGs that are of direct relevance to the Centre: SDG 5 focuses on universities’ research on the study of gender, their policies on gender equality and their commitment to recruiting and promoting women; and SDG 10 which focuses on research into social inequalities, their policies on discrimination and their commitment to recruiting staff and students from under-represented groups.

In bringing together equality mandates and innovation with interdisciplinary research, the Centre acts as a nexus for thought leadership on issues of diversity, inclusivity, identity, belonging, and mainstreaming equality. The EGC’s Equality Unit provides a central resource for increasing awareness and visibility of discrimination, highlighting our equality initiatives, promoting best-practice, giving insight to our progress against strategic equality aims and objectives, and celebrating the successes of all our staff. As a result of these priorities, the Centre’s activities, accomplishments and outputs directly impact the metrics used to determine impact under this novel and forward-looking initiative that has captured global attention.