Copy
View this email in your browser
UCL Engineering's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Newsletter
Welcome to the Autumn EDI Newsletter!

In this issue:
Questions, comments, or concerns?
Feel free to reach out: (j.novales@ucl.ac.uk or v.diaz@ucl.ac.uk).
From the Vice Dean's office
Dear colleagues,

We hope that this academic year has started well for you. While we've been able to slowly start returning to campus, we know that Covid is still a concern for many. We appreciate all the care colleagues have been taking regarding masks, social distancing, and other Covid mitigation measures, and we encourage you to keep doing so.

It's Black History Month -- be sure to check out UCL's events, the BHM circulars from the UCL Institute of Child Health, and Library Services' BHM recommended reads, as well as our own Wikithon on 29 October.

We'd also like to draw your attention to Computer Science's new EDI website - well done!
Challenging unacceptable behaviour - video resources
Together with the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MAPS), we've created a series of three short videos showing what unacceptable behaviour might look like and how to challenge it.

Watch the videos on our website to learn more.

Please make use of these videos for your group meetings, departmental inductions, or in any other way you think this could be helpful.  The first step to addressing bullying and harassment is recognising it.
Faculty representation on UCL equality networks
Are you familiar with UCL's multiple equality staff networks? We're pleased to note that the Faculty of Engineering is well-represented on several of them.

Vanessa Diaz has recently taken on the role of co-chair of the Disability Equality Steering Group. Sarah Quinnell (STEaPP) has taken on the role of deputy chair of the group, and Eugenio Zapata-Solvas has joined as a member. Michael Sulu remains co-chair of the Race Equality Steering Group and Johanna Novales remains a member of the LGBTQ+ Equality Steering Group.
UCL Engineering and Imperial Engineering Wikithon for Black History Month

Join us for this exciting and important Wikithon on Friday 29 October 2021, from 3 - 5.30pm UK time, in celebration of Black History Month. 

We aim to create or improve the Wikipedia entries for at least 50 Black engineers and scientists. Never edited Wikipedia before? Don't worry, we'll tell you everything you need to know on the day.

Current UCL and Imperial students (from all disciplines) are especially encouraged to attend, although we welcome all attendees.

Find out more and register.


 
Student representative wanted - Faculty EDI Strategy Board
Calling all students!

We're looking for a student representative (undergraduate or postgraduate) for the Faculty EDI Strategy Board.

This group meets once a term to set priorities and review progress on the Faculty's EDI goals.

We're keen to get the voices of students heard. Help us advance our EDI objectives and spread the word! Interested students should email Johanna Novales for more information.
Focus on disability and neurodiversity
Photo of Manjula Patrick smiling at the camera. Manjula is a woman of South Asian descent with short dark hair.
We're so pleased and lucky to have Manjula Patrick working in the Faculty as a recent addition to our EDI team. Manjula has been working hard on a widening participation project to improve the experience of our disabled staff and students. Please read on to meet her and find out more about her important work!
  • Who are you?

Hi – I’m Manjula Patrick, she/her. I’m on secondment from Brain Sciences where one of my roles is Disability Equity Lead. I’ve been at UCL a VERY long time! I love UCL, I've benefitted from many opportunities and worked with interesting people, and moved my focus to equity and social justice... quite a journey from a PhD in Biotechnology.

 

  • What's your role in the Faculty?

I am the EDI and Widening Participation Strategy Manager in FES, working with Vanessa Diaz. I started my secondment looking at the experiences of disabled and neurodivergent students, we’ve got interesting (and unique) qualitative and quantitative data. Our report is coming soon – look out for it!

 

  • What should staff and students know about your work?

This work is unique to FES, nobody at UCL has done similar work. The findings from the FES project could act as a model for the rest of UCL, truly improve the experiences of disabled and neurodivergent students and ensure equitable outcomes.

 

  • What are the next steps for disability equality in the Faculty?

We have just started developing a new online short course to improve awareness of inclusion of disabled and neurodivergent people – a need that became apparent from our project data. Content will be focussed on interviews with disabled and neurodivergent staff and students, with strategies for how we can all become more inclusive. The course will be aimed at all FES staff and students, with potential to offer it to the wider UCL community.

There are also plans to use an existing module to pilot an inclusive curriculum design… look out for more news of that too.

 

  • How can staff and students support this work?

Inclusion and equity can only be achieved through shared ownership; proactive allies and inclusive behaviours – a huge culture shift that we all have a responsibility towards.

If you don’t know, ask – doing nothing perpetuates poor practice and excludes those who are already disadvantaged. There’s plenty of support in this Faculty; committed colleagues in local EDI groups. Do contact me, I am happy to advise or signpost.

 

  • What's the most challenging thing about your role? The most rewarding?

Starting a new role in lockdown so not being able to get to know people, perhaps not so much challenging but certainly strange!

The real challenge was the hunt for a robust quantitative dataset on FES students… a long, frustrating, maddening journey but it had a happy ending, we have THE most robust complete dataset we could have imagined!... dare I say, more so than others at UCL!

Engaging with disabled and neurodivergent students to collect qualitative data, their generosity and trust in sharing difficult experiences and making great recommendations, was certainly the most rewarding aspect of the project! Thanks to these students, FES will have an opportunity to take progressive steps.

 

  • What's something your colleagues might find surprising about you?

Hmmm… I’ve met Francis Crick and Stephen Hawking… not at the same time! One of my role models is Frida Kahlo, a woman unafraid to be herself at a time when it was even harder to do so. I love the Blues though I have a hideous singing voice. I’m fluent in British Sign Language. We keep rescue (ex-caged) hens - highly recommended! That’s about it… I’m not a particularly surprising person!

 

  • What do you like to do when you're not working?

I took up running in May 2020 (like many people) and have become slightly addicted but let’s be clear, I’m no marathon runner!

I’m VERY obsessed with gardening and love to cook/bake. My partner and me are increasingly keen on bird watching… not twitchers or birders, just walking and watching birds, perhaps it’s an ageing thing(?) We also love travelling, though not much of that in the last 20 months!


 
UCL Portico with the trans flag
UCL Portico with the trans flag. Emily Wang (@emilx.w), UCL Photo Society.
Around campus
News from elsewhere
Have news you'd like us to share in the next edition of this newsletter? Get in touch (j.novales@ucl.ac.uk or v.diaz@ucl.ac.uk).