In a first of it’s kind in Europe, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) is now accepting applications for a Masters and Post Graduate Diploma in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We interviewed Dr. Therese Moylan Head of Department of Entrepreneurship at IADT and Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee in the college to find out more about the courses:
- To someone who is not aware of it, explain the Masters Equality, Diversity and Inclusion course, and what’s involved with it?
The subject matter of the entire programme centres on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in an organisational context – it is specifically dedicated to the subject of leading and managing the EDI agenda in business and is the first masters programme to do so. As Ireland has become a more culturally diverse country engaging on a global economic basis, it is increasingly important for employers, managers and employees to be knowledgeable about, and adept at managing EDI. The business case for diversity has been well established and the McKinsey report on Delivering with Diversity (2018) notes that an inclusive and diverse employee base contributes to increased competitiveness. Graduates from this programme will be equipped to play a leading role in this area. The modules that make up the programme include the following:
- EDI Management Theory and Leadership
- Critical Theory and Identity
- EDI and context
- Legal Framework and EDI
- Strategic HRM and EDI
- EDI Policy implementation and evaluation.
- Research Methods and Research Project
- Who would it be suited to? What is involved in the application process?
People develop an interest in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion from many different disciplines, perspectives, and life experiences. It is suited to people currently working in the EDI space, people interested in developing their career in the area and recent graduates who are keen to develop their specialisms. Candidates need to have a 2.2. Honours Level degree or the equivalent. Applications through the Recognition of Prior learning process (RPL) are welcome.
The application process is very straightforward and there is a downloadable application form on the IADT EDI course page that allows candidates to apply directly.
- Do you need any skills or experience in the area? How many places are available?
It is not necessary to have either skills or experience in the area. However, needless to say, a deep interest and passion for the topic is really important and will sustain candidates through their studies. It will also appeal to those interested in advocacy or aspects of social justice applied in an organisational context.
- It’s a part time masters, what’s involved in terms of days or hours per week?
Classes take place online on Tuesday and Thursday evenings throughout the first and second semesters academic year with additional classes scheduled on campus every second Saturday during the academic year for the first year. The contact hours go to one evening for the third semester with a significant amount of time required to complete the research project. Throughout the programme, students need to allow significant additional time to complete assignments and course readings.
- How is the course divided in terms of exams, assignments, or thesis etc? Are there different percentages in any of the areas? How many assignments would you have to do?
The assessment procedure is 100% project based and students will do a range of projects across the modules. The assessment types will vary from module to module and will include reports, essays, evaluations of work practices, case studies, policy review and development. Reflective essays and portfolios are also an important element of the learning on this programme. There is a minimum of one project per module, two in some instances depending on the module weighting.
- With the importance of Diversity and Inclusion increasing in organisations in recent years, why do you think more third level colleges aren’t looking towards courses like this?
I don’t think it is that they are not looking at the issues, but typically you will find references to EDI embedded in other modules i.e. maybe as a subset of a HR module or a Strategic Management module. However, our research indicated that there was a need for a more holistic approach to EDI in the context of organisations and we have developed this business programme as a result.
- Some of your lecturers are some of the best-known people in the area of Diversity and Inclusion in Ireland. Are there any that people would recognise?
The programme resides in the Faculty of Enterprise and Humanities and draws on a combined humanities and business skillset that has strong research credentials in the area. Dr Yaqoub BouAynaya’s research is on race and the construction of Irish identity, Dr Josephine Browne has published in the area of labour law and company law. In addition, she has conducted a number of Equality Audits and she also researches in the area of minority entrepreneurship – women and the Traveller Community. Sharon McGreevy is a Strategic HRM expert whose research interests include disability and entrepreneurship, Jeff Taylor is currently researching in the area of universal design and access to education and my own research focuses primarily on female entrepreneurship. Furkan Karayel, award winning inclusive leadership advisor and CEO of Diversein.com is a member of the teaching team. In addition, we are very conscious of the importance of reflecting the lived experience of those who covered by the 9 grounds listed in the Equality Act and we have regular guest lecturer inputs to reflect this.
- How has the pandemic affected the course? What are your plans for the course post-pandemic?
It has resulted in the programme being offered fully online since September and we continue to teach online in line with Public Health Guidelines. Post pandemic, we will retain online teaching for the evening classes, but would hope to have at least monthly Saturday classes on campus. We do know from experience programmes that the peer-to-peer engagement that evolves organically when students converge really adds to the richness of the learning environment and we plan to facilitate this with regular on campus sessions.
- What’s the difference between the Post Graduate Diploma in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion course that IADT offers and the Masters in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Course?
The total programme is made up of 90 ECTS, split into the modules listed above. The students doing the Masters do the 90 ECTS and they take the Research methods module and complete the Research Project. Those doing the Postgraduate Diploma do not pursue the research option and their programme consists of 60 ECTS that includes these modules – EDI Management Theory and Leadership, Critical Theory and Identity, EDI and context, Legal Framework and EDI, Strategic HRM and EDI and EDI Policy implementation and evaluation.
- What do you think are the biggest issues in Diversity and Inclusion in business at the moment. How does the course aim to change this for the better?
The biggest challenge is making it real! By that I mean, ensuring that real and systemic changes occur at organisational level. There is undoubtedly an increased level of awareness of the importance of EDI in the workplace – however, increasing awareness is one thing, but embedding EDI in all levels of organisations is a significant challenge. Graduate from this programme will be well placed to develop the policies and practices to drive change and manage EDI impact within their own organisational context.