Embedding cultural change at the university

Diverse group of people working

October was Black History Month, and I was really delighted to see our Black community celebrated through one of the biggest and broadest programme of events in recent years. If you didn’t get the chance I’d encourage you to watch the recording of our central panel event where Black staff and alumni explored what Black success means to them, what barriers they have faced and how they have overcome them.

This year’s theme was Action Not Words and as Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People, I took this directive to heart. I invited members of key, large employers in Nottingham to the university to look at how we could collectively work to diversify our workforces. This is an institutional EDI priority for our university but by working with others we can achieve this goal faster and deliver greater benefits for the region. Together we have laid out plans to; improve work experience, apprenticeships and secondment opportunities for those with protected characteristics, share good practice regarding diverse talent recruitment, and use our collective buying power to ensure the recruitment agencies we engage are actively seeking underrepresented groups to apply for roles at our organisations.

In parallel with this, our Human Resources team is working hard to make our recruitment practices more inclusive, including innovative ways in which we advertise roles so that we attract applications from underrepresented groups. I believe, diversifying our workforce is the key to unlocking inclusion at the University of Nottingham. It will drive the quickest cultural change in faculties and departments, it will reduce our gender and ethnicity pay gaps, it will provide diverse role models to our students, engender a sense of belonging for all and reduce the awarding gaps. For this reason, I’d encourage everyone at the university to play whatever role they can in helping us to deliver on this priority area.

November sees our next EDI recognition month take place, Disability Recognition Month. We are using this opportunity to show the university’s commitment to a social model of disability where our community understands that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference. At the beginning of this month the Vice-Chancellor and I wrote to all staff to remind them of their responsibilities in making reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities. Echoing this our keynote session on 17 November, Disability: Rights and Responsibilities, provides an opportunity for us all to reflect upon and understand the moral, ethical and legal role we all play in making our community inclusive to those with a disability.

This event showcases initiatives designed to drive inclusion including the work of Adam Lester, Associate Director of Student Disability Services, who is leading the Disability Inclusive Nottingham Project and the work led by Julian Tenney, in the Learning Content Team, in making our teaching resources as accessible as possible. It also highlights the provision of services available to all our students and staff with a disability and signposts line manager and personal tutors to these resources. We would welcome as many people as possible to join us online for this event which you can sign up to here.

We have set an institutional key performance indicator for the percentage of our staff with a disability to proactively drive inclusive recruitment practices. To ensure we have accurate baseline data for the current number of staff at the university with a disability I would encourage those who feel comfortable doing so to update their status in My View.

This data allows the university to better understand the diversity of its staff and to ensure support resources, such as reasonable adjustment budgets, are sufficient to cover requests. My View does not automatically feed forward this information to line managers, so it remains an individual’s choice how and with whom they wish to discuss their disability.

I’m also really pleased by the work taking place for our new AccessAble app which involves the surveying of all our university estate to create access guides for all our buildings. Please look out for more news on the app in the coming weeks.

We have established a new Disability Equality Steering Group, chaired by our Disability Equality theme lead, Helen Creswick. This group oversees the work taking place for both staff and students, provides joined up thinking and provides a forum to share best practice so that we can drive change quickly. This group also works closely with the Disabled Staff and Student networks to ensure the university prioritises the key issues and creates a strong sense of belonging for all.

Professor Katherine Linehan 
How to say my name 
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People
7 November 2022


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Trent Building
University Park Campus