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Celebrating the diversity of our community

We will strengthen and value the diversity and inclusivity of our community.


BAME Staff Network

Our BAME Staff Network was established in 2018 to support and represent staff members who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic within the University. They are actively involved in the Race Equality Charter Mark re-submission and run regular events such as Lunch & Learn and are developing a BAME Staff Mentoring Scheme.

Women in meeting

BAME student advocates group shot outside

BAME Student Advocates

The main aim of the BAME Student Advocates is to help the University reduce the BAME attainment gap. They have changed the conversation in the University around race, racism and white privilege, educating staff and fellow students through sharing lived experiences.

“Institutional activities to address the awarding gap have tended to focus on staff development and it had been a challenge to achieve real student engagement. The ‘student voice’ was missing in much of our activities. The BAME student advocates have facilitated conversations about issues of race in a very constructive manner enabling better understanding of student perspectives and lived experiences."

Helen Barefoot, Deputy Director of the Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre

18.7% of staff are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, whereas the percentage of the University’s BAME students has increased to 54%. However, this profile is not replicated across the whole institution, where some disciplines have lower levels of BAME student (eg Education and Creative Arts) and staff representation (eg Health and Social Work) than others.

BAME Careers Event

A BAME careers event was organised by our BAME Student Advocates in collaboration with Widening Access and Student Success and the Schools of Humanities, Education, Law and Business. The event provided BAME students from these disciplines with an opportunity to engage with employers and to emphasise commercial skills (delivered through workshops), which will allow our students to stand out in the job market.

Three girls at event smiling at camera

Black History Month

Throughout the month of October, a series of events are organised annually by the Equality Office in collaboration with Widening Access and Student Success, Students’ Union, the academic Schools and other departments across the University to celebrate arts, culture and provide reflection on black history.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse community at the University and we greatly value the broad perspectives, creativity and experiences that stem from it. Our range of events during October will celebrate and reflect on Black history and offer something for everybody.”

Laide Bissessar, Head of Widening Access and Student Success at the University of Hertfordshire

Women and men in meeting


The University continues to have a mature staff profile with 64.6% of staff aged 36-60 years. Higher percentages of women are represented across the age ranges apart from age 66 and above where they account for only 38.8%.

Menopause Network Launch

59.66% of our staff aged 41-55 are female. According to the NHS, women typically enter menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. The staff Menopause Network was officially launched in March 2018 and one of their main initiatives involves liaising with HR to develop a guidance or policy for menopause in the workplace.

Woman working in home library

Female and two male students walking through campus

Mature Student Network

Widening Access and Student Success manage a Mature Student Network for students that started their undergraduate course over the age of 21. As a member, students are eligible for funded activities and prizes tailored to benefit them as a mature student. This network also provides support, advice and guidance as well as offering a point of contact for any issues or queries they may have.

The majority of our students are aged between 18-20 (54.3%) and at Undergraduate level this rises to 70.3%. Students aged 40 and over (27.9%) make up the highest proportion of students studying at Postgraduate Taught level. Mature students were less likely to be awarded an upper pass grade (those aged 30-39 were least likely at 55%). In the previous year, the group least likely to achieve an upper pass grade were aged 40 (60% in 2017/18, 57% in 2016/17).


Two academic staff networks were formed to progress women’s careers and address the unequal representation of women in senior academic posts. The Academic Women’s Advancement Group (AWAG) was first established in Autumn 2018 within the School of Creative Arts to connect the aims of Aurora and Athena SWAN. The Network of Women+ Professors (NW+P) was established in Spring 2019 and invites all women in academic roles, including those who identify as women, to join.

Overall, more women work and study at the University than men. However, men and women are not distributed equally across grades, job types and disciplines. For example, there continues to be under-representation of female staff and students in Computer Science, Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, and Engineering, and an under-representation of men in Education and Health and Social Work.

International Women’s Day (IWD)

Events are organised annually across the University in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This year the School of Humanities and Hertfordshire Business School organised a programme of talks around ‘Breaking Barriers’ where colleagues across the University presented on topics including shared parental leave, women in leadership and inspirational women in history.

Woman speaking in front of audience

Raising the LGBT+ flag

Sexual Orientation

The University has an active LGBT+ Staff Network and LGBT+ Student Society who run regular events. Last year, events took place for LGBT+ History Month and included a Pronoun Workshop, film screenings and annual raising of the pride flag in celebration of our LGBT+ community. We also celebrated LGBT+ in STEMM and are setting up a University-wide LGBT+ Mentors Scheme.

Gender identity

Trans equality is an evolving equality area and the University is currently finalising the development of its own trans guidance (including key processes, contacts and information) to support staff and students.

In addition, following a gender-neutral toilet pilot in our Schools of Creative Arts and Law, and after staff and student consultations, the University is rolling these out across both our College Lane and de Havilland campuses.

"The network is welcoming to all people, including both allies and those who identify as LGBTQ+. We meet up at least once a month to socialise in a safe space, and we also discuss any relevant LGBTQ+ University business."

Connor Howard, Chair of LGBT+ Staff Network

"I think DAWN provides a potentially strong platform to help colleagues understand more about disabilities and their implications, and that sometimes small, seemingly insignificant, adjustments can be of huge benefit to people like myself."

Dave Faulkner, member of DAWN, Hertfordshire Business School


The University has 8.6% staff with declared disabilities compared to 5% in the sector (Advance Higher Education 2019). Our Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN) is open to staff with a disability and those interested in disability issues. The network offers peer support and advice around living/working with a disability.


Our Chaplaincy services welcome those of all faiths and none. We have two multi-faith/cultural centres for the provision of spiritual, social and pastoral care of both staff and students. The spaces are used by all for a variety of purposes including but not limited to prayer, silent reflection, meditation, a variety of wellbeing workshops/networks and faith society activities.

Group shot standing in Inter Faith Week frame

Inter Faith Week

We celebrated Inter Faith Week 2019 and the Chaplaincy teamed up with the Students' Union to stage a 'Pick up a prayer event'. Printed prayers from six major faiths in this country were offered - Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Sikh. Passers-by were invited to pick up a prayer that was not from their own tradition.

2018/19 Staff and Student Statistics

The University publishes an overview of key equality and diversity statistics on an annual basis (as of 31 July) relating to the protected characteristics of its staff and student body. The latest details have been published separately, with the statistics used within the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) report providing a snapshot from this. The EDI report has been approved by the Chief Executive Group and the Board of Governors.