The work of our EDI Committee is broad in its remit and we always welcome discussion of issues as and when they arise for staff or students.
However, in addition to this, we have long-term commitments towards ongoing work for our Athena Swan Silver Award submission. To best progress this work, we have implemented four working groups which are detailed below.
Employment Practices and Culture
In this group, we are focusing on how we can better ensure that all staff members feel valued for the work they do in LDC. This involves looking at ways in which we welcome and support new staff, and the ways in which we celebrate the achievements of all existing staff in terms of research, pedagogy and other areas of leadership. In this group, we are also looking at the way in which staff on short-term contracts are better made to feel a part of our teaching community, valued and supported in the work they do, whether it’s their first time teaching or they have been teaching for several years.
In this group, we are looking carefully at the experience of inequality in the promotions process and endeavouring to intervene with a better provision of support in key areas of weakness. Our assessment work for our Athena Swan Bronze Award found that staff were experiencing inequality along gender lines in the progression of lecturers on ATS contracts beyond Lecturer B. As such, we are looking at the criteria of the Academic Progressions Handbook and trying to improve attainment of the appropriate criteria with better provision of support where it is needed. In particular, we are doing this by looking at the training available and by addressing systems of mentorship. Other concerns here involve the contrasting experience of those on part-time and full-time contracts and issues of precarity around the experience of early career researchers.
Caring for Self and Others
In this group, we are currently developing work around staff and student wellbeing but we are also looking at flexible working arrangements, care leave and return-to-work support. We have begun an informal working group on wellbeing where staff and students can drop in for a sociable lunch to discuss current challenges and what we might do as a school to address them. In this group, we are also contributing to the university’s development of a new policy to support women in the workplace going through the menopause. This group has also been active during the pandemic in conducting a listening exercise to better inform the university about the experience of those staff members managing caring responsibilities with home working during the lockdowns.
In this group, we have been focussing on increasing advocacy and visibility of trans identities and rights within the school. The primary way of addressing this has been through the initiation of a Trans* Student and Faculty Reading and Writing Circle, based on the idea of community-building circles. The initiative has proved very popular with our student body in particular and continues to grow. This group is also exploring the provision of training with respect to EDI matters, assessing and reporting on that which is currently available and identifying gaps in that provision.