We are delighted to announce the appointment to two senior roles within the University, which drive forward our practice in these crucial areas. Professor Rajani Naidoo has been appointed as the Head of the Race Equality Taskforce and will start on 1 December 2020 and Alex Butler has been appointed as the Executive Chair of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee and will commence in this role on 1 November 2020. Both Rajani and Alex are looking forward to starting these new roles.
Professor Rajani Naidoo
Rajani is Professor in Higher Education Management and Director of the International Centre for Higher Education Management in the School of Management. She holds a UNESCO Chair in Higher Education Management. She has held a range of faculty and management positions in the UK and South Africa including in an institution which aimed to contribute to the transformation of higher education in apartheid South Africa. She is also Visiting Professor, Chair for Critical Studies in HE Transformation at Nelson Mandela University South Africa.
Rajani has in-depth experience and significant success in working on equality, diversity and inclusion issues across different national contexts and settings for close to 30 years. She was an inaugural member of Khanya, a higher education institution set up by the South African Committee of Higher Education to recruit talented black students and to act as a model for transformation of the HE sector, which had been strongly impacted by apartheid.
Rajani was a trustee of the End Racism and Sexism in Education organisation, playing a major role. A past President of a UK Student Union, she was the first person of colour to be elected onto the Governing Council for the Society for Research into Higher Education, which is a Learned Society and part of the Academy of Social Science. In addition to demonstrating clear “hands-on” roles, her research is notable, as evidenced by citations in the top 5% of her field and keynotes worldwide. Her supervision of doctoral students is outstanding and a global prize was awarded to one of her students. She is currently working on a joint project with the Centre for Conflict and Peace at the highly ranked Universidad Del Rosario in Colombia to evaluate research, teaching and community engagement strategies to foster ethnic diversity and contribute to the transition from war to sustainable peace in Colombia.
Alex Butler is one of only a few female Chief Information Officers in UK universities, having previously been in senior leadership roles in the commercial sector, including as Directgov’s first Executive Director.
She has launched a number of EDI initiatives within DDAT at the University and is also involved in multiple diversity in technology initiatives, working with young people, particularly from BAME communities, to help tackle youth unemployment. She is a volunteer advocate for people with mental health challenges, having successfully argued discrimination and a failure of the Public Service Equality duties in several legal cases as a lay advocate. She is involved in a wide range of external EDI-related activities, for example being part of Kaleidoscope's network of LGBT+ allies and as Vice Chair of the Trustee Board for domestic abuse charity, SafeLives.
Please join us in congratulating Rajani and Alex on their new roles and look out for more information from them in the coming weeks.