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Towards a more inclusive University

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Dialogue looks into the new strategic framework for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

In last month’s Dialogue, we wrote about the work of the Respect Commission, and how the next step is to continue and evolve that work through a strategic Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) framework, which will build a bridge to a progressive and more inclusive culture.

Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for EDI, Dr Shaid Mahmood, has been leading on the strategic framework.

He commented:

We’ve made great strides in addressing fairness and equity, respect, equality, diversity, and inclusion and recognise there is more to do to modernise, evolve and transform.

“One of the key areas of focus for this strategic framework is creating the cultural conditions for inclusion for both staff and students and ensuring we have the right leadership attributes to enable this.

“We’re also seeking to increase our diversity at all levels and enhance a sense of belonging and community in our staff and students.”

Natalie Saunders, previously interim director of the EDI unit, has been working with the PVC EDI to create the framework. She said:

We spent time listening to staff and students share their views on what they thought the framework should contain, and the challenges and opportunities it should address, and distilled that insight into five key themes.

“Through those five key themes of community, curiosity, culture, commitment and clarity, we will be bridging the gap between Durham as it is today and a progressive, egalitarian Durham of tomorrow where staff and students can be themselves, be their best and be proud to be Durham.”

Dr Mahmood explained further: “We recognise the significant efforts already undertaken by staff and students alike to make the University more diverse and inclusive. We're pleased to be able to build on those foundations by setting out a clear, bold and ambitious vision, articulating strategic aims and objectives to enable the framework to be embedded, and calling on all our staff and students to play their part in making our aspirations become reality.”

The framework has five key aspects as in the diagram above.

Existing and new initiatives include:

  • Reviewing leadership and management development programmes in light of the refreshed University purpose and values (reviewed as part of the University Strategy refresh)
  • Enhancing our understanding of our workforce by analysing, reporting and sharing robust, reliable equalities data
  • Creating toolkits and aids to decision-making at all levels
  • Amplifying student voice
  • Delivering Race Equality Charter (REC) and Athena Swan actions.

We will be sharing more about the framework and how you can get involved in helping us bring it to life very soon – including doing some 'pop up' sessions around the University. So, watch this space!

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