The strategy outlines Imperial’s commitments on equality, diversity and inclusion for staff and students.
The ambitious new strategy brings focus and coherence to Imperial’s efforts to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
“Our strategy is a call to arms, to everyone at Imperial – staff and students – who believes that the dignity and individuality of every person here should be respected and cherished.” Professor Stephen Curry Assistant Provost (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion)
Professor Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), said: “Excellence comes in forms that are changing as fast as changes in society. If Imperial is to thrive in a world that has never been more diverse and inter-dependent, we must become more conscious of the benefits that will flow from moving equality, diversity and inclusion to the heart of our institution.
“We want to tap into pools of talent that have been neglected for too long, and to increase the quality, relevance and world-changing impact of our research and education.
“Our strategy is a call to arms, to everyone at Imperial – staff and students – who believes that the dignity and individuality of every person here should be respected and cherished.”
The strategy builds on existing initiatives and projects across the College. The most visible components of this work are schemes that provide external benchmarking such as the Athena SWAN awards, the Race Equality Charter, the Disability Confident employer scheme and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
However, the strategy expresses Imperial’s desire to be more proactive and more courageous, by supporting individuals and by reforming structures and practices that maintain inequality and discrimination. It includes an action plan which lays out the College’s commitments under the following key themes:
- We will integrate equality, diversity and inclusion into all management processes
- We will integrate equality, diversity and inclusion into the student experience
- We will take positive action to improve the opportunities and experiences of under-represented groups, especially women, and black and minority ethnic, LGBTQ+ and disabled staff and students
- We will reduce the incidence of bullying and harassment
- We will gather and publish data to monitor our progress
- We will collaborate internally and externally to develop good practice
- We will be open to dialogue and challenge on our work on equality, diversity and inclusion
Imperial’s President, Professor Alice Gast, and Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, said: “Tackling the global challenges of the future, such as climate change, emerging infectious diseases and the opportunities of the data revolution, will require a truly diverse, creative approach. Our community has work to do to ensure that everyone can participate to find solutions to these challenges, and to harness the full potential of all, and we are committed to doing that.”
A number of actions in the strategy apply specifically to students, and support the work on learning, teaching and student experience that is already underway.
Developing an inclusive curriculum that will attract, engage and support students of all backgrounds and identities is an integral part of the 2017 Learning and Teaching Strategy. Interactive teaching and teaching based on inclusive research will allow students to bring their gender experiences, their cultural background, their experiences based on disability and sexual orientation, and their unique identity into the classroom as part of the group’s learning experience. Diversity will become an asset instead of a problem that needs to be overcome.
A consultation has just ended on a new Student Support Strategy, which will include a focus on mental health and providing targeted support packages for students who may have specific needs – for example, students who identify as BAME or LGBT+.
The EDI Forum includes representatives from the students’ union as well as the chairs of the staff networks. The Forum members are glad to hear from staff and students who have views on EDI issues or want to get more involved in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at Imperial.
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