Dr Cheryl Holman
Meet Associate Dean for Academic Quality, Dr Cheryl Holman. Cheryl is an LGBT+ member of staff and shares her experience of working at Herts.
Life at Herts
I've worked here for a long time now. My perception of Herts from the start was that it's a friendly organisation and staff work hard to meet the needs of our students. In recent years Herts has become more focused on equality and diversity. Within my role, I work a lot on improving equity of opportunity and contribute to the University’s strategic plan.
As a lesbian with two children with my partner, I do feel valued by my colleagues and the management team. My colleagues show interest in me and how my family is getting on which is encouraging and affirming. In the School of Health and Social Work we've felt the pressures of COVID-19 and the support and kindness from my colleagues has been invaluable.
I think staff networks have become more visible and support for community groups is apparent. This sends positive messages to staff. Herts is a very friendly place to work and it's good to its staff. Make the most of any opportunities offered and don’t be afraid to be who you are and let people get to know you.
I attended a fantastic workshop about LGBTQ+ issues at the University a couple of years ago. I met some lovely people and learned a lot from them. It was refreshing hearing the varied stories and perspectives from the other participants. Since then, I've become much more involved by attending workshops about LGBTQ+ issues, trying to educate myself and joining in the discussions with students and staff.
What more can we do?
Recently my daughter, who is 9 years old was at school when another pupil said they believed God didn't love gay people. My daughter’s response was: “But my Mums are gay and I’m sure God loves them”. The school is excellent and dealt with the issue and we talked about the incident at home. For me it highlighted the need to discuss a range of inclusivity issues from an early age.
I have delivered a session for health care students where I was asked to recount some of my experiences to help them better understand LGBTQ+ issues. I'd like to do more of this type of work to promote discussion and ideas. As someone who came-out in the 1980s I'm interested in how ideas have developed and how people across the age continuum experience LGBTQ+ life from within and outside the LGBTQ+ community.