Best universities for reducing inequalities

Explore the top 100 universities for reducing inequalities based on data collected for the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings

August 4 2020
Best universities for reducing inequality

First generation students or students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are still poorly represented in higher education. But universities are now working hard to rectify this and the Impact Rankings 2020 are an indicator of which universities are doing this successfully. 

To put together this ranking we mapped how universities around the world are committing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality. 

The SDGs look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues and SDG 10 covers reducing inequalities. 

Some of the metrics that helped to measure which universities were excelling at reducing inequalities were the number of first generation students, the number of students from developing countries, the proportion of students and staff with disabilities, the measures against discrimination and the amount of research a university undertakes on reduced inequalities. More information on the methodology can be found here

1. RMIT University

RMIT University is committed to working across all the SDGs and SDG 10 is no exception. 

The university is conducting a number of research projects that explore inequalities in all aspects of society and in Australia and beyond. One such research project focuses on the liveability of cities in Australia through analysing the public transport systems, public open spaces, housing affordability, walkability, employment and food and alcohol environments. 

2. University of East London 

The University of East London has a good track record in recruiting students who are the first in their family to go into higher education as well as those from low-income families.

The university has also put in effort to encourage women to participate in subjects with low female representation, recruiting and promoting women and individuals from BAME backgrounds and providing mentoring support.

In 2019 the university founded its Office for Institutional Equity aimed at addressing gender, racial and other inequalities. 

3. Western Sydney University

The disability service at Western Sydney University is made up of a team of professional disability advisors and trained educational support staff. The service helps with pre-admission advice, academic support and advocacy on disability-related issues. 

There is also a wide range of support for international students. There are guides providing practical advice on living and studying in Australia, as well as important information about mental health and loneliness. 

There is also a specific support centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

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4. Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University has a high proportion of students who are first in their family to attend university. 

The university has support mechanisms in place to encourage such students to attend, such as reducing barriers and practical initiatives to support those students once they are at university. An example of this is a project led by the Student Welfare Team, which won a grant to refurbish laptops no longer required by the university, and make them available to students. 

The university is also conducting a significant amount of research into inequalities across Australia and with international partners. 

5. University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong has developed a series of research projects that aim to reduce inequalities across all aspects of society. 

Some of these include the Caring for Communities project, which has built research networks to engage key stakeholders in the Aboriginal community and a project to address what women’s empowerment means in terms of microfinance.  

The top 100 universities for reducing inequality

Reducing inequality rank 2020
1 RMIT University Australia
2 University of East London United Kingdom
3 Western Sydney University Australia
4 Charles Sturt University Australia
5 University of Wollongong Australia
6 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
7 University of Leeds United Kingdom
8 King’s College London United Kingdom
9 York University Canada
10 University of Manchester United Kingdom
11 University of Bordeaux France
12 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
=13 Maynooth University Republic of Ireland
=13 Monash University Australia
15 University of South Australia Australia
16 Brunel University London United Kingdom
17 La Trobe University Australia
18 University of Bologna Italy
19 University of Waterloo Canada
20 Glasgow Caledonian University United Kingdom
21 University of Auckland New Zealand
22 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
23 London South Bank University United Kingdom
24 University of Malaga Spain
25 University of Passau Germany
26 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Greece
=27 University of Leicester United Kingdom
=27 Stony Brook University United States
29 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
30 University of Johannesburg South Africa
31 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
32 Macquarie University Australia
=33 University of Canberra Australia
=33 University of Sydney Australia
35 De Montfort University United Kingdom
36 Dublin City University Republic of Ireland
=36 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
=36 University of Tasmania Australia
39 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
40 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
41 University of Westminster United Kingdom
42 University of Malaya Malaysia
=43 University of British Columbia Canada
=43 Iran University of Medical Sciences Iran
=43 Western University Canada
46 University of Newcastle Australia
47 City, University of London United Kingdom
48 Asia University, Taiwan Taiwan
=49 American University United States
=49 Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia
51 University of Maryland, Baltimore County United States
52 University of Missouri-St Louis United States
=53 Durham University United Kingdom
=53 Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1 France
55 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
56 SOAS University of London United Kingdom
=57 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong
=57 Lakehead University Canada
=57 University of Waikato New Zealand
60 Bath Spa University United Kingdom
61 University of Dundee United Kingdom
62 University of Winchester United Kingdom
63 National Changhua University of Education Taiwan
64 Sapienza University of Rome Italy
65 University of South Florida (Tampa) United States
=66 North-Eastern Federal University Russian Federation
=66 University of Rovira i Virgili Spain
=68 University of Greenwich United Kingdom
=68 IE University Spain
=68 IMT Mines Alès France
=70 Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France France
=70 James Cook University Australia
=72 Bangor University United Kingdom
=72 University of Kashan Iran
74 University of the Western Cape South Africa
75 Al Ahliyya Amman University Jordan
=76 University of Haifa Israel
=76 Sabancı University Turkey
=78 Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Russian Federation
=78 UNSW Sydney Australia
80 Miguel Hernández University of Elche Spain
81 Altai State University Russian Federation
82 University of Southern Denmark Denmark
83 University of Girona Spain
=84 Comillas Pontifical University Spain
=84 Hanyang University South Korea
86 Salesian Polytechnic University Ecuador
87 Solent University United Kingdom
88 Old Dominion University United States
89 Aalto University Finland
90 Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) Brazil
91 University of North Carolina at Greensboro United States
92 Suffolk University United States
=93 Charles Darwin University Australia
=93 University of Chile Chile
=95 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
=95 Dalhousie University Canada
=95 Istituto Italiano Design Italy
=95 Perm National Research Polytechnic University Russian Federation
99 University of Gothenburg Sweden
=100 Chaoyang University of Technology Taiwan
=100 Lehigh University United States

View the full ranking for reducing inequalities here 


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