The Department of Life Sciences is working to foster a culture that is diverse and inclusive for staff and students. This is not merely to comply with UK legislation with respect to protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity). Rather, we want to ensure that we recruit and retain talent from the widest possible pool, and to establish a healthy and supportive working environment where everyone feels able to be who they are.
Our policy on recruitment therefore requires staff involved to take proactive steps to encourage applications from women and people from ethnic minorities. This entails identifying and directly contacting potential candidates to ensure that the pool of applicants, and ultimately the shortlist, properly reflects the pool of available talent. To emphasise that this proactive approach needs to be effective, shortlists are monitored within the department; we now also have a standing policy that all-male shortlists are not acceptable. As a Disability Confident employer, we will guarantee an interview for any applicants with a disability who meet the essential criteria for the position.
Our active broadening of approaches to potential candidates recognises that some people are more hesitant than others about putting themselves forward. But we wish to be encouraging and outward-looking, recognising that diversity brings real strengths to any organisation. We are determined always to make appointments on merit, evaluated robustly, intelligently and, for academic positions, in accordance with the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). The department commits to providing feedback to all candidates who were encouraged to apply in the event that they be unsuccessful.
Our recruitment policy also requires all staff involved in appointments to have attended relevant training. This includes courses on Unconscious Bias (run occasionally within the department) and at least the online component of the College’s Recruitment and Selection course.