At the University of Nottingham we are very proud of our perspective as a Global University. Our staff and student communities at all three of our campuses come from a wide range of nationalities, cultures and religions, and the diversity that this brings adds fully to the richness of our University life.
Much of our work in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion area at the moment is considering aspects of diversity in race, religion and culture, as we aim to build the focus of our future activity plans.
I hope that you have already seen the calls for engagement with our Race Equality Charter Survey. This survey is now in its final week, and has already yielded over 2000 responses, but we want to ensure that our response rates are even higher, to ensure that the work that emerges from this survey fully reflects the needs and views of our staff and students. This survey forms a key part of our future submission to the Race Equality Charter, but is also influencing our activities now. We know that there are some real challenges for equality for our Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students, and are keen to gain as much understanding of the experiences of all of our staff, from all cultural backgrounds, so if you have not already completed it, please complete the staff survey or student survey.
As I write this blog, we are still in the Holy month of Ramadan. I am very grateful to our colleague Moe for writing his guest blog on this site several weeks ago, and have myself learned more about the challenge, community and pride in taking part in Ramadan that is felt by our Muslim colleagues. One of the wonderful things about the University is its diversity in religions and beliefs held by our students and staff, and it is good to raise the profile of how we support this diversity, whether it is through changing the hours of opening for our sports centre, to the work done by the Islamic Society who host the daily Iftar breakfast each weekday in the Portland Building.
Last week I spent some time at our Ningbo campus, as part of our work to consider how we can develop a parallel Strategic Delivery Plan for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for each of our international campuses. The legal, cultural and regulatory contexts for each of our campuses are different, and our local EDI strategic delivery plans will reflect these differences, whilst ensuring that our overall themes are consistent for us all. It was fantastic to see the more recent developments at Ningbo, since my previous visit which was almost five years ago, and good to meet students and staff who are engaging in discussions and leadership of EDI. There are clear opportunities for us to work together, through virtual collaboration and face to face visits, to share best practice and challenge our ways of working to ensure that we do our very best.
Finally, there are a couple of events which provide focus on some specific issues relating to EDI. Firstly, on June 5th, the Graduate School are hosting a conference focusing on EDI in Postgraduate Research (PGR). We know that PGR is a key career transition point, and the conference organisers have put together an outstanding programme of external and internal speakers whom I am sure will deliver some thought provoking and challenging talks. And on 14th June, the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Research hub will be hosting its inaugural event, bringing together those whom are actively conducting research which is advancing our knowledge in matters relating to EDI. I am thoroughly looking forward to both of these events, and hope to see as many of you there as possible.
Professor Sarah Sharples
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
29 May 2019