The Inclusive University

Updates from Equality Challenge Unit - December 2014

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The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) works to support equality and diversity in Higher Education. They produce guidance and resources to promote understanding and best practice.

1. Sign up for the ECU monthly newsletter

You can find out more about the ECU by subscribing to their newsletter: scroll to the bottom of their website and enter your email address.

2. Become a Charter Mark panellist

The ECU is looking for people to help assess applications to both Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter Mark. This is an interesting opportunity to further develop your understanding of equalities issues while providing constructive feedback to other Institutions. Panellists will need to read 4-6 applications in advance and attend a panel in London for one day. The ECU pay travel expenses and provide lunch. Online training is provided for panellists. Please visit the ECU website to sign up.

3. Athena SWAN expansion

Athena SWAN is expanding to accept applications from arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments from November 2015. The expanded Charter will also use a broader definition of gender, examining support for transgender staff and investigating any areas where there are systemic barriers to male progression.

Looking back over 2014: the Equality and Diversity Unit

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As the year comes to an end, the Equality and Diversity Unit wants to share some of our reflections over 2014 with you. First of all we want to thank you all who worked with us in making the Inclusive Univesity real for our students and staff in a number of different ways. Without your support and commitment, we couldn't have achieved none of the below listed.

A year in which the University continued to extend its commitment to E&D and inclusivity: 

  • Equality training made mandatory to ensure all have the same baseline of knowledge and awareness
  • New policies released to support this agenda including a Faith and Belief Policy and revised policy on reasonable adjustments
  • No Bystanders campaign
  • Becoming a Time to Change employer
  • Embarking on the Race Equality Charter Mark
  • Conference in July on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with people from all phases of education from across Bristol
  • Also in July, UWE sponsorship of PRIDE
  • Disability Working Group recommendations taken on board and ongoing plans for a support service for disabled staff
  • Equality Management Group and Equality Diversity Forum ongoing work demonstrate ongoing commitment
  • Work by all of us to embed E&D where we work

Recognition for specific achievement in the E&D arena

  • Stonewall Workplace Index great news
  • Athena Swan achievement of Department of Nursing and Midwifery and Department of Allied Health Professions in November
  • Two Ticks – positive about disability – symbol commitments achieved and beginning to use from 2015

Behavioural/culture change activities        

  • Diversity mentoring exchange
  • Striving to embed E&D principles in training courses as well as offering E&D related courses
  • Supporting International Women’s Day, LGBT History month, Black History Month, and working to make them more visible to all
  • Making the language we use including the term inclusion (from the 2020 Strategy) a core part of what we talk about in all the meetings we attend and briefings we give
  • Welcome Fair  presentation slot and info table
  • Working with Student Union and others on Safe Spaces and hate incident reporting
  • Responding to queries from people (staff and students)

Equality and Diversity in University Governing Bodies

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In October staff members in the UWE Governance Team organised a conference on Equality and Diversity for the Committee of University Chairs (CUC). This conference was designed to explore ways of improving the diversity of university governing bodies, as well as how they can create a culture that embraces E&D in their institutions. While these bodies have long accepted the value and benefits of E&D, they have found it difficult to diversify their own groups. This conference attempted to provide practical ways of achieving this.


The CUC is the membership organisation representing Chairs of university governing bodies in the UK. Its primary functions are to develop the Code of Governance for Higher Education and to provide advice and guidance to Chairs around issues facing higher education governance. Since September 2013 the CUC has been hosted by UWE and is based within the Governance Team in Academic Services.

(Contribution by Sarah Connell, Academic Services)

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IT Services and creating an inclusive working environment

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In October ITS staff completed an interactive E&D questionnaire session as part of a series of ITS Transformation workshops to gauge how inclusive they felt the ITS working environment was and their knowledge and confidence of procedures to escalate E&D issues.  Work is underway to use this information to ensure the future structure and working practices of ITS are inclusive for all and that particular groups are not disadvantaged.

Following on from the ITS Transformation workshops 11 members of staff have come forward willing to form an ITS E&D forum to strengthen consultation on E&D issues affecting staff and to proactively assist in making the department more inclusive.  Work is underway to establish the more detailed terms of reference for this forum and to encourage more staff working outside of the main ITS building to get involved.

Seven staff development training sessions on LGBT awareness have taken place during September, October and November 2014 and overall there has been a positive feedback from ITS staff.

·         117 members of staff have taken part in the training which equates to 80% of staff in ITS.
·         61 members of staff who took part in the training have completed the training evaluation form about session design and content.
·         98% of staff indicated that they intend to use what they learnt on the course in the workplace.
·         83% of staff felt that the training would support their personal development.

Course feedback:
"The course content was entirely relevant"
"A very interesting and thought provoking course"

(Contribution by Rayhana Rahman, IT services)

If any staff is interested in rolling out the same training for your area, please get in touch with the Equality and Diversity Unit.


LGBT: Looking ahead to 2015

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Thank you to all staff who’ve been involved in LGBT equality work in the past year. Some of our highlights are: 

UWE has entered the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index under Stonewall’s new more stringent criteria for 2015 and will receive a new ranking in January.

Looking forward, UWE will not be entering the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for 2016 in order to concentrate our resources on following up the recent advice and steer given to us by Stonewall. Our relationship with Stonewall will continue: we will maintain our status as Stonewall Diversity Champions and will have access to Stonewall advice and training programmes. Our relationship with Stonewall remains extremely beneficial: they continue to provide valuable advice on furthering LGBT inclusive practices at UWE. Our LGBT Action Group will continue work to address gaps and to help make the Inclusive University a reality for all staff and students.

Ron Ritchie, UWE’s Diversity Champion, acknowledges that there is more to do in this area to ensure significant and lasting culture change. We are pleased that sponsorship for Pride 2015 has been confirmed and that UWE is supporting four LGBT Allies to receive Stonewall Allies training in 2014/15. We look forward to continuing work to improve the lived experience of LGBT staff and students at UWE in 2015.

Library Services for disabled students and staff

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All students benefit from receiving accessible course materials. As well as providing alternative formats for students, we are also happy to provide university staff with guidance on creating accessible documents.

Here are some general tips for creating an accessible Word document – if you would like to find out more, please get in touch (details below).

  • Use a sans serif font, such as Arial, no smaller than 12pt
  • Avoid using italics or underlining. If you need to add emphasis, use bold instead
  • Format using Word Styles to make to the document easily navigable
  • Avoid using columns
  • Avoid placing text over images

The Assistive Technology Service provides help and advice for both students and staff. 

  • We run an assistive equipment loan service.  There is a variety of equipment available for loan including: laptops installed with assistive software, ergonomic mice, keyboards, digital voice recorders, portable listening devices and handheld video magnifiers
  • Assistive software is available for use by students and staff on many of the university networked computers.
  • We can offer advice on using assistive technology and training in using the programs on the university network.

More information on all the above services can be found on our web pages, or alternatively you can email

(Contribution by Sarah Fleetwood and Jackie Chelin, Library Services)