In May 2020 the Vice-Chancellor appointed two senior roles to drive forward our work on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Chief Digital and Information Officer Alex Butler was appointed Executive Chair of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Committee and sits on University Executive Board. Professor Rajani Naidoo was appointed as Head of the Race Equality Taskforce, providing strategic leadership to develop and implement equality objectives relating to race.
A community for everyone
Focused work on diversity and inclusion has taken place across the University including in the EDI team and network, The Students' Union (The SU), Athena Scientific Women's Academic Network (SWAN), and societies including the Staff Network of Colour, the Student Anti-Racist Action Group (SARAG), and disability support groups.
The EDI team has worked hard to develop a resource hub and training packages, sharing knowledge and tools to create a University-wide, shared responsibility to EDI and long-term change.
In June the University hosted its first Pride event, organised by Kaleidoscope, the LGBT+ group for staff and postgraduate researchers. Launched with opening remarks from the Vice-Chancellor, the sold-out event featured art workshops and live music.
Decolonise Architecture (DA), a collective of students and alumni from the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering has created the Inclusive Review, a sector-leading developmental tool written by students and approved by the Department, which can be used to address subconscious biases in the curriculum and teaching.
Change at every level
Actions have also been taken in recruitment practices to increase the diversity of applicants and appointees. This includes improved training for recruiting managers, changes to adverts and job descriptions, anonymised shortlisting, and better outcome monitoring.
EDI training for staff and students, including against unconscious bias, is being implemented. The Gold Scholarship Programme attracts and supports a diverse range of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the new Target Bath programme will recruit and support students of Black African and Caribbean heritage. Elevate, a leadership and development programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women has also been piloted.
The Race Equality Taskforce
The Race Equality Taskforce has worked to listen to our community, build trust, and understand experiences of racism, and how this interacts with class, gender, sexuality and disability.
Members have reviewed structures and processes, following cases of how racial prejudice is experienced and investigated ways to enhance support. It also highlighted existing work on racial equity to acknowledge and build on it. Mechanisms to report racist incidences and access support are in place. The Black Students’ Network Wellbeing Programme is highly valued and the ‘Be the Change’ initiative to address racism and other forms of harassment has been launched.
The Race Equality Taskforce will lay the ground to apply to the Advance HE Race Equality Charter, a national scheme to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. It aims to inspire strategic approaches to cultural and systemic changes, making a real difference to minority ethnic staff and students.
There remains much to do and many challenges ahead but the last year has seen real enthusiasm and support from staff and students from across the University who have committed to embed diversity in our community, contributing to a vibrant and equitable institutional culture.