Coleg Cambria makes huge steps on Gender and Pronoun changes with Tribal

Posted by Ella Higham

Formed in 2013, Coleg Cambria has rapidly established itself as a leading UK education provider and one of the largest colleges in the UK, with approximately 6,000 full time students, 20,000 part-time learners and many international links.

Coleg Cambria has been a customer of Tribal Group for more than ten years, using Tribal ebs MIS solution alongside the Ontrack Prospect application platform and learner and teacher solutions. They are now leading the way in learner inclusion, adding the option for learners to enrol with their gender as well as their legal sex in Ontrack Prospect and Learner.

ebs improves the way the college collects, collates, analyses and shares information so operations are streamlined and student engagement is enhanced. Offering real-time digital technologies for reporting and communication, ebs empowers Coleg Cambria colleagues and students to achieve more successful outcomes.

It is thought ebs is the first ever MIS to allow institutions to fully record and display learner gender and pronouns, and this request originally came from Kate Unitt, Student Voice Engagement Officer at Coleg Cambria.

Kate Unitt goes on to explain,

While I was studying my MSc Computer Science at Wrexham Glyndwr, through various conversations I picked up on a few restrictions to features in electronic student records. One of these was related to students with medical conditions or disabilities being restricted to only two officially noted entries with anything else being placed in a comments box which could often be missed by staff.

Another was a lack of self-identifying features which would benefit LGBT+/Trans students. In particular, I identified that gender/sex options in a student profile were not broad enough to allow for students who were transitioning through gender identities which also meant that there were potential issues for staff if the student's outward appearance didn't match or represent the student's gender identity or use of preferred pronouns.”

Kate further explains,

My Master's dissertation focused on a prototype system which expanded all of these options, basing the gender list on Facebook's then expanded list - my perspective was simply: if our students can already access the gender they identify as on Facebook, then why can't they access it as part of their college or university record? The prototype allowed the students to choose their own titular salutation, including the increasingly popular Mx, but more importantly opened the ability for them to identify their preferred pronouns so that they can be addressed correctly.”

Gabriella Walshaw, Product Owner ebs Innovation Team at Tribal Group said,

I was delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside Kate, who generously shared her research to enable us to best serve trans and gender-non-conforming learners. We’re allowing learners to feel known and safe in our institutions. It was particularly poignant that we were able to do this work through Pride Month.”

Kate concludes,

I'm elated that I've been able to discuss these features with Tribal in my role of Student Voice Engagement Officer at Coleg Cambria and help bring about these changes to gender and pronouns in EBS. I hope to build on this with our students and our LGBTQ+ Student and Staff groups at the college."

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