We have been furiously working to get our EDI activity off the ground. As our colleague Sarah Guise, former Head of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at UCL, used to say, this is about ‘lighting little fires everywhere’ and it is YOU, the fire in your belly and commitment that will make a difference.
We had a very successful call for EDI Task Force projects. Thank you for your enthusiasm and ideas! Please read below to know more about some these projects and the fantastic people leading them. We will start feeding you information about these projects and the amazing people who lead them, little by little.
We would also like to let you know that the strategy of our EDI activity, which has finally emerged and there is even a draft document that we are slowly starting to circulate before we seek comments from across the Faculty. We are a bit behind schedule but my aim is to get an EDI Strategic Plan signed off by the beginning of 2020.
The strategic plan goes from concrete things like making a clear and convincing case for EDI in our Faculty and its impact for the REF 2021 (yes, there are relevant EDI sections in our REF submission!) to policy changes that will have an impact Faculty-wide and possibly beyond. That strategy is fully aligned with the wider UCL EDI strategy and I am convinced it will make us fairer, better and stronger.
Please, read on, do get in touch with your ideas and we are very much looking forward to working with you!
Pronouns - why they matter
Some words from me (Vanessa Diaz)
Many of you might have seen in my e-mail signature and my Twitter bio (@vdiazucl) that I have added my pronouns (she/her). I have been asked the questions: Why? What does it mean? What does it matter to you?
In short, the main reason for me is not for others to know how to refer to me, but for me to support the community that wants others to know how to refer to them.
I am fully supportive of our non-binary colleagues and students. Read on for a bit of learning and a human angle from Johanna below.
Pronouns matter(Johanna Novales)
As a nonbinary person (my pronouns are they/them), I understand that thinking about pronouns, especially those outside the binary he/she, and reexamining our use of them, is not usual practice for many of us here in the Faculty. But for myself and other trans or nonbinary colleagues, it is a simple matter of respect. I know the overwhelming majority of people want to be respectful and just need more information on how to do so.
Towards this end, I've run several briefing sessions on pronouns and titles for UCL staff, including a well-attended one in the Faculty on International Pronouns Day (16 October). If you're interested in a session of this briefing for your department or group, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Update on EDI Task Force Projects
We were delighted to receive ten expressions of interest for EDI projects from staff and students in the Faculty. These range from starting a student group focused on EDI issues, to a podcast on the challenges faced by PhD students, to looking at the racial pay gap in the Faculty, to many more.
We'll feature more of our projects in future newsletters, but for now we'd like to introduce you to EDGES:
The UCL Equality and Diversity Group for Engineering Student (EDGES) was founded in September 2019 by a group of students who wanted to create a space for discussion of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in engineering. While UCL itself promotes diversity, implicit bias against equality efforts is still prevalent in the Engineering Faculty.
Through EDGES, we hope to change the culture in the Engineering Faculty around diversity and provide a space where anyone who identifies as an engineer can feel included. We hold social seminars on topics specific to groups that are underrepresented in engineering. We host events or partners with other societies to host events for awareness days like World Mental Health Day and LGBTinSTEM Day.
We are currently setting up a mentoring scheme and an outreach program. We are also going to begin to showcase our diverse student population on our social media platforms. We believe that what makes us unique, makes us valuable, and that is something to be celebrated!
Invitation to become a panellist for the UCL Internal Mock Panels
We would like to thank colleagues who participated in the current round of Internal Mock Panels. We had 22 panellists from 16 departments. Being a panellist not only supports our colleagues in preparing their submissions but is an invaluable way to understand Athena SWAN submission requirements.
Athena SWAN Surgery
The next Athena SWAN Surgery is on 14 November from 10am – 12noon. The purpose of the session is to help you successfully navigate the submission process, explore issues and opportunities and share your knowledge and experience with others. Please share with members of your SAT.
To discuss any further support you require for your departmental submission please contact Kevin Coutinho (email@example.com).
News from the central EDI team
Nominations open for UCL's first Inclusion Awards
Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their equality, diversity and inclusion related work at UCL? Nominate someone from the UCL community for our very first UCL Inclusion Awards.
UCL Inclusion Awards recognise work or contributions that individuals or teams make to progressing or improving equality, diversity or inclusion practice.
Nominations can be made in the following categories:
Provost’s award for Embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion This award recognises an individual’s or team’s effort to embed EDI into mainstream work; through their approach and undertaking of all tasks, be it day-to-day tasks or larger projects.
Sarah Guise award for Catalyst for Change This award recognises a person or a team doing things differently by incorporating EDI values into the way they work resulting in a positive shift in organisational culture.
Sir Stephen Wall award: Inspiring Role Model This award recognises a person who has taken the opportunity to engage with staff, speaking openly about their personal experiences in a visible forum that encourages and champions diversity and inclusion in a way that new and existing staff can relate to.
The winner of each category will receive £2,000 to be spent on furthering equality, diversity and inclusion activities at UCL.
The first ‘Changing Places’ facility for people with high support needs is now open at UCL in the DMS Watson building.
Changing Places are facilities with high specification equipment for people who require additional support to use the toilet. There are an estimated 250,000 people in the UK who need this level of support to be able to go out and about and enjoy their day. Users include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as some older people. Features ‘Changing Places’ include are an adjustable bench with supporting hoist, a centrally located toilet with standing space on both sides and a non-slip floor. Although this is the first Changing Places facility at UCL, in combination with existing facilities at the Wellcome Museum and Great Ormond Street Hospital, it creates a chain of Changing Places running through Bloomsbury.
Work is also underway on the second Changing Places facility at UCL. Work on this facility in the UCL Institute of Education is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
Fair Recruitment Specialist Initiative
Would you like to become a Fair Recruitment Specialist?
The Fair Recruitment Specialist scheme is aimed at helping to make decision-making in recruitment more representative of ethnic diversity at UCL and to help minimise the potential for implicit bias in our processes.
Applications will remain open throughout the year and staff wanting to become a Fair Recruitment Specialist can complete an expression of interest form.
Would you like to use a Specialist?
If you would like a Fair Recruitment Specialist in your recruitment panel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible. Providing details of the vacancy, such as the grade and job description, as well as the interview date, will help our Fair Recruitment Specialists decide if they can assist. Please remember that our Fair Recruitment Specialists are staff volunteers so early notification makes it much easier for them to arrange time to attend your scheduled recruitment activity.