June 20, 2017, by David Greenaway
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
We are well advanced on our ‘Beyond 2020’ programme, with core strategies being updated, refreshed or reframed to reflect changes in the environment over the period since Global Strategy 2020 was signed off by the University Council.
So, for example, on June 22nd we will launch our new Research Strategy, led by Dame Jessica Corner, at the Royal Society; and with the closing of the Impact Campaign on July 31st, we will immediately activate plans progressed through our ‘Beyond Impact’ thinking.
Underpinning all we do is our people. We cannot succeed without a diverse, talented and committed community. Another major platform of work has therefore been a comprehensive review and rethink of our People Strategy, led by Jaspal Kaur. This has focused on leadership, culture, career development, reward, and so on. It has also included Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
We affirmed our core values regarding EDI as part of Global Strategy 2020, including: valuing diversity and promoting equality; valuing all staff and supporting them to excel; developing a culture and working environment that encourages people to challenge themselves and others – openly, constructively, and with respect – to raise the quality of all we do together.
EDI activity specifically relating to staff is managed locally but is at the heart of our People Strategy. This programme began in late 2015 with new staff resources in place from April 2016.
As part of our strategy to embed a broader spectrum of EDI activity at local and institutional level, we have developed new EDI structures to create opportunity for a greater breadth of sharing of ideas, knowledge and feedback, whilst also providing mechanisms to deliver real change from institutional level programmes of work.
Central to this structure is our new EDI Board chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Cox. This is overseeing strategy and resolving barriers to progress. We have also provided new and dedicated leadership through the creation of an Associate PVC role for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I am delighted the first holder of this role is Professor Marion Walker MBE.
Since its inception, our University has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Athena SWAN initiative, and we have committed to its revised Charter Principles. These have expanded to include recognition of work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and in professional and support roles; as well as recognising the experience of trans staff and students.
The new Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, including men and people of other genders, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. We are therefore putting in place stronger frameworks to support Schools and Faculties with their gender equality agendas, with the intention that all Schools/Faculties will have submitted for an Athena SWAN award by 2020. We are also aiming for a new institutional Silver Award by 2018.
This is an ambitious agenda, and we want to ensure we fully understand what it is like to work at the University of Nottingham, and how we can broker partnerships to progress this essential work. We will therefore be inviting colleagues to support the agenda in two main ways.
First, we would like everyone to assess how they can further advance gender equality in their own areas of work, and share this information with their School Athena SWAN team or with the central institutional team through: email@example.com
Second, having undertaken an EDI Survey, and complementary Staff Engagement Survey, we are currently preparing specific feedback on the former. This will be distributed to Faculties, Schools and Services to help them shape their EDI action plans.
Alongside all of this, a Race Equality Steering Group has been created and presented initial findings for building greater race equality at the University to the EDI Board. This includes a recommendation that the University makes a submission to the Equality Challenge Unit’s new Race Equality Charter mark in early 2019.
Finally, a new collaboration with the University of Birmingham has been established where good practice is shared and joint initiatives progressed. EDI has been identified as an area of strategic significance for both universities that will be explored over an initial two year period. The collaboration will focus on learning together (activities based on developing knowledge exchange and sharing best practice) and co-creation (activities based on specific outcomes like new programmes, or guidance that can be used by both universities together or independently).
Alongside this ongoing People Strategy programme, we will continue to support and promote key engagement events. Over the last year we have celebrated LGBT History Month and Black History Month. In addition we had our inaugural Month of the Mind, focusing especially on mental health, dementia and wellbeing; and our first Disability December programme which helped raise awareness of living with disability and showcased the richness and diversity of disabled cultures. All were really well supported across our University.
Under the excellent leadership of Professor Marion Walker, many are contributing time, energy and ingenuity to these essential activities. I am very grateful for that and look forward to sustained and sustainable change.
Professor Sir David Greenaway