Equality, diversity and inclusion at Nottingham

It can be easy to think of the term ‘EDI’ (shorthand in the UK for Equality, diversity and inclusion) as just a HR buzzword, but over recent years it has become a hugely important tool to ensure that the environments where people work and study are places where everyone can feel accepted, valued and most importantly their true, authentic selves.

You may see EDI as being as straightforward as increasing the diversity of a workforce or improving the working environment for employees with a physical disability, but it covers much, much more than that – and alumni like you can make a real difference.

We need alumni to share their experiences of a number of EDI areas to support our current student cohort

EDI and the university

Here at the university, the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People was introduced in 2018 to ensure an EDI-rich culture would be given prominent position and recognition strategically. 

We have introduced a new thematic structure to EDI work at the university, with leads and dedicated working groups in the themes of race equality, gender equality, disability equality, LGBTQIA equality, wellbeing, and intersectionality and inclusion. 

As a university, our current focus is on the diversification of our workforce, awareness raising and education, and support such as wellbeing resources and neurodiversity support. This is measured by two external charter marks, which help us identify, explore, and consider issues relating to race equality (The Race Equality Charter) and gender equality (Athena Swan charter).

EDI in action

We have also introduced innovative new tools and practices to support our staff and students, such as:

  • An AccessAble app for use by staff, students, and visitors to learn more about the accessibility features of our buildings, route plan around buildings and identify EDI spaces such as gender neutral toilets, faith spaces and Athena Swan parenting rooms.
  • LGBTQIA+ progress flag lanyards for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and staff who make an active pledge and commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
  • Implementing best practice from our own researchers in inclusive language in recruitment and sharing this with local partners.
  • Committing to providing free period products in our facilities.
  • The creation of a cultural humility on-boarding module for students.
  • New report and support system for students and staff to report incidents.

Why is this so important? At its heart, from a student perspective, it is crucial we give every student the platform to succeed, whatever their background.

This is reported to the Office for Students annually, so we can measure our effectiveness as a university in doing so.

Protected characteristics

One of the ways in which everyone in the UK is protected in law from discrimination, harassment or victimisation is in the use of ‘Protected Characteristics’.

There are nine of these, which in addition the university also considers caring responsibilities, socio-economic background and temporary impairment. All of these help the university advance equality for all its staff and students – it’s also where you as alumni can help.

Alumni - we need you!

Our Volunteering and Advocacy Team already involves a diverse group of alumni in the student experience through careers talks, lunches with leaders, workshops, and mentoring. The team also looks to ensure we are inviting alumni to share their stories and voices to help us develop our work around Gender, Race Equality, LGBTQIA+, Disability, Wellbeing and Intersectionality and Inclusion.

This has included projects such as our Black Industry Career Empowerment Programme (BICEP), Inspiring Women in Engineering activities and Inspiring Women in Science programme.

Our students gain tremendously from speaking to and learning from alumni who have lived a shared experience at Nottingham; this might be a disability, their upbringing, their race and many others – and we run initiatives to help connect them. But we are always on the lookout for more alumni who might be willing to help.

Tell us about your experiences

If you feel passionately about supporting our work and would value sharing your experiences with our students please register your interest in volunteering or email our friendly volunteering team!