IUA Release 17.05.21 - Human Rights & EDI Training a key priority for the Irish University Sector - Launch of EDI in HE programme for staff

17.05.21: The Irish Universities Equality Network is today launching the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Higher Education eLearning programme, as a successor programme to LEAD (Living Equality and Diversity), which was developed by the IUA Equality Network in 2012. This new EDI programme will involve a blended approach to generating mainstream staff conversation and engagement with equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights issues in all our institutions.

The purpose of the EDI in HE eLearning programme is:

(1) to raise awareness of how equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights issues permeate organisational culture, and

(2) to understand what third level education staff responsibilities are under Irish equality and human rights legislation.

Launching the programme Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris said: “Our lives have changed rapidly since the foundation of the LEAD programme, so I am excited to launch the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in HE eLearning Programme. This programme is intended to support university staff to understand how these crucial issues permeate our society and organisations, so that universities are empowered to respond in their everyday working lives. Programmes such as this are crucial to helping us develop and deliver the future of our higher education sector and the diversity we want to see in our universities. I would encourage all university staff to undertake this EDI programme.”

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Dr Marie Connolly, Director Human Rights, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Limerick said: “This programme is intended to be practical to assist university staff in their day-to-day work, to help them think differently and put policy into practice. I would like to thank the external agencies for their expert advice and feedback on the draft programme, including the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), Pavee Point, AsIam, and LGBT Ireland,”.

One of the first participants on the course Dr Caroline Murphy, Lecturer in Employment Relations said: “From a personal, professional and practical perspective I found the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Higher Education eLearning programme insightful and very applicable in my day to day working life. The programme encourages reflection and challenged me to think differently about how I work and engage with my colleagues and students. The content design and the interactive resources made the course itself easy to complete.”

The programme has been funded by institutional contributions, with part funding provided by the HEA through the Athena SWAN Capacity Fund.

To develop the programme, a range of specialist EDI practitioners from across the sector have engaged with a leading international EDI eLearning company Marshall’s eLearning to create a bespoke EDI training and awareness programme for staff in the Irish HE sectors. The programme has been tailored to the needs of Ireland’s institutions, including the Irish legal context, and then further adapted at institutional level to reflect each institution’s EDI policies and services.

This programme will complement other offerings in each of the individual institutions in addition to further sector wide collaborative online initiatives such as the pending on-line Race Equality awareness programme which will launch in June 2021.

Given the rapid pace of technological change since the launch of the original LEAD programme, EDI in HE uses interactive multimedia resources (website, workbook, podcast, video, voice recordings etc) to ensure that the programme is fully accessible, and to engage HEI staff with the programme content. It is hoped that the programme will enable third level education staff to consider and reflect on the part they play in building an inclusive culture, across the higher education sector.

Full digital accessibility options are used throughout the module, with learners being able to access the material online, or via workbook or an audio podcast.

The programme consists of 4 separate modules, details below, each of 30-45 minutes duration, which can be completed either as an entire programme, or as a series of modules allowing participants to build up their knowledge over time.



Additional Notes:

The Irish Universities Equality Network is made up of: Dublin City University, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Module details:

  • Module 1 an introductory module gives you a comprehensive overview of the importance and benefits of EDI and Human Rights and the legal landscape in which Higher Education Institutions operate.
  • Module 2 covers Recruitment and Selection and is essential for any staff member involved in the selection process.
  • Module 3 looks at meeting the needs of diverse students and best practice tips on fostering equality in teaching and learning settings.
  • Module 4 looks at putting policy into practice.


For media queries please contact:

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association

085 7141414 lia.osullivan@iua.ie