University’s progress on matters relating to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2021

Dear colleague

I am writing to update you on the University’s progress on matters relating to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

In 2020, the University Executive and Council approved the Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024. Our evidence base told us that we were under-represented particularly in the areas of gender equality of our senior academics, and ethnicity across our student and staff body. These areas are now the focus of the plan.

Since its approval, two members of the University Executive have taken responsibility for leading on gender and ethnicity; Dr Anwen Jones and Professor Colin McInnes respectively. Together with the Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Ruth Fowler, we have successfully launched a Female Academic Mentoring Programme with 28 mentees and 28 mentors all trained and matched and now in mentoring relationships. This programme forms part of our strategic action to address the under representation of women in senior academic roles, and to support and develop female leadership and career progression. 

We have also offered 5 female academics places on the Aurora leadership development initiative for women. The Aurora initiative brings together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector. 

As part of our work to increase the representation and diversify our staff body, we have developed and published a suite of positive action initiatives on job adverts. The positive action statements state that ‘we welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities and in particular, those that are currently under represented in our workforce. This includes but is not limited to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, candidates with disabilities, and female candidates.’  These statements were added to job advertisements in July 2020.  

We have ring-fenced places for BAME students on the Aber Doc (PhD) scheme in 2021 and 2022. Our evidence base tells us that Aberystwyth University is underrepresented in the area of ethnicity across our student body. AberDoc Scholarships are part of a prestigious fund for Research Postgraduates. These awards are tailored to enable students to develop the necessary skills required to meet their career choices and offer a breadth of development opportunities to enhance their research, teaching and transferable skills. 

And finally, we have signed up to the HEFCW-Advance HE Race Access and Success Collaboration Project. The programme is designed to engage whole institutions by building a cohort of individuals from executive leader to student. Working with each institution’s group, every element of the programme will build awareness and action to improve race equality as institutions and as a sector.

 You can read more about other recent developments and initiatives below:

  • Bystander Intervention training, training on Dignity and Respect in the learning environment, and ‘Is it alright to say?’ equalities language training
  • Launched the pilot of the Women in Universities Mentoring Scheme in partnership with University of South Wales with approx. 70 colleagues signed up between both institutions and now in contact
  • Published the Annual Equality Report 2021, Gender Pay Gap Report 2021, and a revised version of the Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Put a call out to formulate a new Self-Assessment Team in order to submit an institutional Bronze Athena Swan award in the near future
  • Held monthly Equality Champions meetings, LGBT Network meetings, BAME Network meetings, and regular meetings with the Women in Research Network
  • Finished a review of University portraiture and architecture in relation to potential past injustices in relation to identity
  • Fed in from an equalities perspective on the REF process and then subsequent equalities impact assessing and future planning to ensure the process is as fair as possible and that opportunities are as equitable as possible
  • Assisted the UKRI COVID Extension Fund panel and facilitated and scored all the equalities elements for the funding distribution
  • Started the process of encouraging a more diverse range of external speakers for our Research Lecture Series
  • Started the process of understanding barriers to equality in senior leadership roles in academic departments in relation to gender and contract type and looking at ways to remove barriers
  • Marked LGBT History Month, International Women’s Day, and Black History Month
  • Completed equality impact assessments for face coverings, the re-opening of the University faith space, and the introduction of 1 way walkways in relation to COVID plans

 If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me directly. You can also speak to our Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Ruth Fowler ruf@aber.ac.uk 

With best wishes

Professor Neil Glasser
Pro-Vice Chancellor with responsibility for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
email: nfg@aber.ac.uk