“The secret of getting ahead is starting”. Mark Twain


This week I thought I would continue with a theme from last week’s blog, A Call to Action.

About this time of year, we hold a workshop with members of the Equality and Diversity Committee, plus wider representation from across the university – Student Union, the Chaplaincy Team, trade unions, academic and professional services. The purpose is to review progress against our targets for the current academic year, and to identify priorities to build on our progress. This year we also asked members to come with good diversity practice that they had experienced or implemented within their own area. I think this helps encourage ownership of the issues. It also recognises there is a lot of good practice taking place that is not necessarily captured within our action plan.

So what good practice did they bring?

  • The SU had delivered a successful equality and diversity campaign during Varsity.
  • A feminist network had been set up in the School of Liberal and Performing Arts.
  • We now have a permanent Muslim Chaplain.
  • The School of Education ran a men into teaching initiative called “The Beard Boys”, a name the students chose themselves.
  • Our PGCAP, takes an evidence based approach to inclusive teaching practice.
  • We hosted a successful Employable You Day for our students with disabilities and we delivered our first Sprint Programme. Sprint is designed to support the professional development of women undergraduates.

As you can see, quite a wide range of activities. The following are a selection of achievements from our action plan:

  • We achieved Level 2 of Disability Confident.
  • Hosted our first diversity and inclusion conference.
  • Ran Resilience workshops and Health MOTs for staff.
  • Have multi faith provision on all three campuses and at our student village.
  • Provided pre-induction support for our mature students, and
  • Developed a student Well Being Strategy after extensive consultation with students and staff that we will implement during 2018/19.

Having identified all this good practice, what did we decide our priorities would be?

Well, one of the first areas is to ensure we share and communicate our good practice and scale it up where practical. Taking up Rennie’s challenge from the conference, we are going to make diversity and inclusion personal and relevant to people. Through the power of stories and experimenting with the delivery of training, we intend to develop people’s understanding and impact of diversity and inclusion issues. This will include a review of our recruitment and selection training and practices to ensure we have a process without bias.

There will be a focus on reducing the black and minority ethnic student attainment gap, and the Student Union is going to deliver a Celebrating Diversity campaign and actively work to make all their events more inclusive. One of our female professors is establishing a female professorial group to support their career development, and that of other female academics.

Work also continues on our Challenge for Change project. Whilst this will conclude in December, we plan to embed the best practice.

These are our priorities in response to our Chancellor’s “call to action” and “to make it personal”.

 Read our blog to follow our progress.


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