Equality, diversity and inclusion
At the University of Hertfordshire, we are proud to have such a diverse student community, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of our strategy.
We celebrate diversity and promote equality of opportunity, enhancing the learning experience for all students and ensuring we are a positive, inclusive and supportive place to work for our staff.
We are a proudly diverse institution; 60% of our students and 19% of our staff (above average for the sector) are from ethnically diverse communities. We believe that inclusion of differing voices and unique perspectives is what makes our community thrive - it enhances our research, enriches our teaching and strengthens our ability to provide an exceptional education to all.
Our approach to EDI
We believe that to tackle some of our biggest challenges when it comes to EDI, we must open conversations and confront difficult issues. We have champions in place in each department to ensure EDI is at the heart of decision making. We listen to our diverse community to better understand their perspectives and respond to their needs.
We have robust plans in place to address critical issues such as the BAME awarding gap in Higher Education. Each school and department, and each individual staff member has a clear role in addressing prejudice, levelling the playing field for our students and helping each of them achieve their potential. Our plans are rigorously measured and reported on, and we are never complacent about our progress.
We also know that education is key to breaking down barriers. Thought provoking and impactful training is available to all staff, in areas such as understanding unconscious bias, racial justice and how to be an ally.
Our student and staff community are also actively encouraged and supported in activities such as networks, campaigns and events. There are groups to support our LGBTQ+, BAME, and disabled communities at the University, among others –providing a safe space to discuss issues confidentially and a platform for celebration.
Our EDI work is varied and happens in all areas of the University, but here is a snapshot of some of our activities:
- Advance HE Diversifying Leadership Programme - offering opportunities for BAME colleagues in academic and professional roles, to take their first steps into a leadership role. Our third cohort finished the course in January 2021
- De-colonising the curriculum - work is underway across various schools in the University, including reviewing and improving reading resources and course materials, and development of specific modules within some courses including a ‘Black Lives Matter’ module within the MA Literature and Culture. We established a BAME student success working group in 2019 which develops materials and supports teaching staff in diversifying their curriculum
- Development and launch of an online ‘Report and Support’ system which enables students and staff to anonymously report or seek advice
- Formation of EDI action groups in every department across the University to ensure challenging topics are discussed and a diversity of viewpoints are heard
- Anonymous shortlisting for all roles at the University - research shows that job applicants with ethnically diverse sounding names are less likely to be invited to interview, so we introduced so called ‘blind CVs’ last year, to help eliminate unconscious bias
- We continue to work towards enhancing the equality charter marks we hold. We currently hold a bronze Athena Swan award (recognising our commitment to gender equality), but are working towards our silver award, we are working towards Level 2 within the Disability Confident Scheme. We are also committed to the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter.
- Expansion of our Workplace Wellbeing Champion programme, recruiting more volunteers to help support and signpost their colleagues to relevant physical, emotional and mental health support available through the University and its partners