Case Studies

Case Study: UCL

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for people to learn, work and live.

 

In 2019, UCL launched Culture Shift to remove the barriers of reporting harassment and bullying. In doing so, it increased reports and gained valuable insights that are paving the way for positive change.

 

Background

UCL, London’s Global University, has been one of the world’s most disruptive and proactive education institutions for almost 200 years. 

With more than 42,000 students from 150 countries and 13,000 staff, it recognises the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for people to learn, work and live. 

 

In early 2019, the university took decisive action to activate cultural and behavioural change by deploying Culture Shift (then Report + Support) as part of an institution-wide campaign called Full Stop.

 

UCL acknowledged that negative behaviour such as harassment and bullying was taking place. But without insight into specific idents, the scale of the problem or patterns of behaviour, it had been restricted to reactive responses to seemingly isolated cases.

 

What happened

UCL launched Culture Shift and Full Stop as one, communicating the benefits of the platform to staff and students alongside clear messaging about the importance of bringing about positive and lasting change.

 

It made clear its commitment to no longer excuse poor behaviour, or minimise the experiences of those affected. Plus, highlighted that all members of the UCL community could play an active role in shaping a welcoming and inclusive environment for students and staff.

 

Culture Shift gave staff and students a platform that made it easy to report incidents – anonymously, if preferred – and access links to relevant support. 

 

Impact

Implementing Culture Shift as part of the Full Stop campaign has led to the launch of the university’s Environmental Investigation Procedure – a groundbreaking initiative within the education industry.

 

Through the data provided in Culture Shift, UCL is able to unpack the reasons for high levels of reports in specific departments – understanding the context behind them.

 

Those findings are subsequently leading to tangible short-term measures being introduced alongside more comprehensive investigations, involving one-to-ones or focus groups.

 

Coupled with the ability to make confidential and anonymous reports, these tangible actions continue to build trust in both the university and the Culture Shift platform amongst staff and students. While simultaneously paving the way for positive cultural change.

 

Key outcomes in the first six months of using Culture Shift include:

 

  • 165 reports received as a result of removing the barrier of reporting
    42% of reports being received within the last three months, and 31% within the past 12, indicating a significant increase in trust and confidence
    Anonymous reporting preferred by 71% of students and staff
    Updates to bullying and harassment policies in line with disciplinary procedures
    •  

Ultimately, UCL can now offer an increased level of support, make targeted interventions and where required carry out disciplinary investigations. All of which are helping the university to activate a positive shift in its culture.

 

With the ability to analyse and interpret data, the university can continuously evolve and improve the culture on campus. And, in doing so, create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.

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