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.

Cheryl smiles to camera

Life at Herts

I have worked here a long time now. My perceptions of the University from the start was that it is a friendly organisation that treats its staff well. In recent years Herts has become more focussed 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 are getting on which is encouraging and affirming. In the School of Health and Social Work we have 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.

I attended a fantastic workshop about LGBT+ issues about a year 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 and having the opportunity to talk with people (many from my school) about interesting life stories and getting to know people.

What more can we do?

My partner and I had an experience, which I think was prejudice, from a GP. When my partner was pregnant and suffering with hyperemesis (very bad sickness), the GP asked questions about our journey in an abrupt manner and seemed off-hand with us. This did delay us getting appropriate treatment. We did not complain at the time and it is only in hindsight it seemed to reflect inequality. With this in mind, I feel there should be more education about learning and teaching in relation to LGBT+ issues.

I was a service user representative for a programme recently and the students were interested in my journey and perspective. Sometimes they asked questions about wanting to be positive towards people from the LGBT+ community in their health care role and I found it difficult to answer some of their questions. I think I need a more up to date approach and more knowledge of theory and research in the area. This is obviously important in health and social work.

The University is a very friendly place to work, and it is 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.