I only have one goal in my new role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People and that is for all at the University of Nottingham to feel accepted and valued bringing their authentic selves to work and study. If I achieve this, then I will have delivered on all of the actions that sit in the EDI and People Strategic Delivery Plans for the university.
Since I joined the university in January this year, I have been impressed by the enthusiasm and amount of activity taking place across the whole of the institution to drive real cultural change in EDI. Projects have been wide-ranging from the creation of a disability toolkit, mentoring programmes for minority ethnic colleagues, adoption of the progress flag for LGBTQIA+ history month and training and support groups for women whose careers have been disproportionately impacted by Covid.
My key focus so far has been to join these strands of work together to create more collaborative working and clearer EDI priorities each year, so we are collectively working on the same issues across the university at any one time. This should help us demonstrate progress more visibly and create greater momentum. To facilitate this, I have established theme leads for all of the key areas of EDI to improve communication to and from the senior leadership team to faculties, schools and departments and to reduce duplication of effort and silo working.
The theme leads work across the areas of Gender, Race Equality, LGBTQIA+, Disability, Wellbeing and Intersectionality and Inclusion. Where there is not currently a committee associated with a theme, a steering group has been established to allow a broad range of staff to drive the direction of work in that area. Over the next few months, I’ll introduce the theme leads to you as they outline the priority areas for the next year.
This more joined-up approach is already reaping benefits with the disability leads working closely with the estates team to improve the accessibility of our campuses. This has led to over £200,000 investment being secured to survey the estate so that a digital accessibility map can be created for disabled staff and students and so that the estates team can prioritise resource for addressing any accessibility issues. This information should also allow timetabling to ensure that rooms allocated for teaching are accessible to staff or students with a disability. I want to thank Amanda Pettingill, James Hale and Andy Nolan for all their work and support of this project to date.
Embedding inclusive recruitment practices across the whole university is also going to be one of the key priorities in the next year. Human Resources are creating a range of tools and training to support those involved in recruitment to diversify our workforce. Proactively increasing the number of men in level 1-3 roles, in addition to increasing the number of women in higher grade posts will enable us to make progress in reducing our gender pay gap. Similarly, embedding inclusive recruitment practices as standard should drive greater representation with regards to ethnicity and disability and allow the university to benefit from the numerous positives that having a diverse, talented workforce brings.
In addition to the flagship recognition months that have become so well established at Nottingham, we are also moving to an approach of EDI awareness raising throughout the year. Inspired by the Halo code, two student photographers have been commissioned to develop Crowns, a portrait exhibition at Lakeside Arts championing the rights of our minority ethnic staff and students to wear their natural hairstyles and head coverings. Crowns is the innovative idea of Esme Ireson and Pearl Agyakwa. I would very much encourage you to visit the exhibition during our sector leading Diversity Festival which takes place between 13-24 June and, wherever possible, attend a keynote event and brief your colleagues afterwards.
PVC for EDI&P
Tuesday 07 June 2022