January signifies not only the beginning of a new calendar year but also 12 months since I joined the university as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People and so I thought I would use this blog to reflect on some of the highlights of the past year as well as to outline some of the initiatives set to launch in the coming months.
Just before the festive break I was reading through our new Equality Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report which summarises the progress made against our EDI strategic delivery plan in 2021/22. I was truly delighted to see what we have all collectively achieved during the past year to drive forward real cultural change and create a place where all students and staff feel they belong. As the nearly 100-page document will attest, the amount of work and enthusiasm in this space has been exceptional and both staff and students are reporting seeing real progress with regards to inclusivity across the university.
Many of you have reported that having clear collective EDI priorities and Institutional Key Performance Indicators has been very beneficial in creating a focus to work in your local areas. We have seen excellent engagement around our EDI priority of diversifying the workforce and I am hopeful that if we all continue to be mindful and reflective of our recruitment practices we will begin to see our university community quickly becoming more diverse and inclusive.
Another highlight for me was the recent Disability recognition month session on Disability: Rights and Responsibilities which saw over 200 attendees learning about reasonable adjustments and the support currently available at the university to staff and students. If you weren’t able to attend the session the full recording can be found here with the shorter highlighted version focusing on line manager support here.
In other news we have now purchased and distributed more than 150,000 sanitary products across our UK campuses to support the cost of living crisis for our staff and students as part of Project Period. I am very grateful to the large numbers of volunteers across the university who have made this happen and you’ll hear more about this in coming weeks. Seeded by the EDI budget, Kirsty Hyndes, Associate Professor in Health Sciences has also started a growing trend of community cupboards offering free ambient food and toiletries to any staff or students who need them.
Last semester also saw the launch of online Consent, Hate Crime and Misogyny training for all of our new students. As part of our Stronger Together series, these courses were delivered direct to students’ mobile phones to drive optimal engagement and to ensure all new students understand appropriate behaviours and how to build positive relationships. Next month we look to deliver training in cultural humility training to further expand this piece of work.
Two new staff EDI networks have been introduced; the Parents Network (for those with parenting roles) and The Haven (for those who experience barriers or challenges to having children). These sit alongside our other staff networks: Disabled, BAME, Women’s, Carers’, LGBTQIA+ and Neurodiversity and offer staff at the university both a community of peer support and an opportunity to help shape the future direction of EDI at Nottingham. If you’d like to join any of the staff networks then please do get in touch with the relevant network lead.
And I’m delighted that a University of Nottingham initiative, the Hershel Programme for women in technical leadership, has been successfully shortlisted for the Advance HE Developing Excellent Practice Award. Nottingham leads the way across the sector in addressing EDI challenges in technical professions and you can find out more or join the network here.
These are just a few of the examples of the impactful work taking place to drive forward EDI at Nottingham. Later this month you will have the chance to learn more about the important and amazing work of our staff and students through our EDI Champions campaign as we celebrate and showcase those who have made significant contributions to moving forward this agenda.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my inaugural year here and am grateful to all of you for making me feel welcome and helping me to understand the culture and practices of a new organisation.
If you’d like to learn more about EDI at the university then do have a look at our ‘EDI on a page’ series which includes the highlights of the EDI annual report alongside our Race Equality Charter, Athena SWAN and Institutional EDI priorities.
I look forward to what we can achieve together this year.
Professor Katherine Linehan
How to say my name
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People
11 January 2023