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UCL Engineering's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Newsletter
Welcome to the Spring 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 you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. This remains a challenging time. There is war in Ukraine (support is available for students and staff affected), and we know that Covid is not yet a thing of the past.

And, on campus, UCL's decision to disaffiliate from Stonewall is a live issue that is upsetting many staff and students, LGBTQ+ and allies alike. Transphobia and homophobia remain unacceptable. If you are interested in developing support for LGBTQ+ students and staff in the Faculty, please contact Johanna Novales. A relevant one-hour Bite-Size EDI session (Respecting gender identity at work: a crash course in pronouns and titles) ran this week and is also bookable by departments -- please contact Johanna if you are interested in bringing this to your team.

 
Two new reports on support for marginalised students
The UCL Engineering EDI team recently released two reports looking at two groups of students whose experiences are often overlooked, even within EDI work: disabled and neurodivergent students; and Chinese overseas students. Vanessa Diaz, Vice Dean EDI, says, "We are very proud of the work we've done. These reports are unique in their​ scope, they show, without question, that there is a lot more we need to do to support these students. We have a duty to right what is clearly wrong, and I trust our colleagues and students will step up to the challenge. We welcome questions and suggestions from everyone to address the issues we’ve found.
 

Improving experiences of disabled and neurodivergent students in FES


In May 2021, the Vice-Dean (EDI) for the Faculty of Engineering Sciences (FES), Vanessa Diaz, initiated a visionary project to investigate strategies to improve experiences of disabled and neurodivergent students in FES, bringing Manjula Patrick from Brain Sciences to lead it. 
Qualitative and quantitative data provided insights into systems/process, awareness/attitudes, sense of belonging, and outcomes. The big question was “is there an awarding gap for disabled and neurodivergent students?” 

A novel aspect of the project is its consideration of Intersectional data; what are outcomes like for disabled students with other protected characteristics? Would there be differences in attitudes towards disability to be gleaned by considering ethnicity and nationality separately?. 

Read the report to find out more about how FES is leading this area of work, and for a comprehensive list of recommendations.

 

Exploring support for Chinese students in UCL’s Faculty of Engineering


Chinese overseas students experiencing difficulties with wellbeing and mental health can sometimes have difficulty accessing support; their issues are not always recognised or understood by staff. This Changemakers-funded project worked directly with Chinese students, in Engineering and across UCL, to explore what might be happening and what steps we could take to mitigate this. These issues are not, of course, unique to Chinese students as a group, and thus this report could also provide insight in how to provide more tailored support to other student cohorts.
 
All Working Lives - 23 March
23 March, 17:30-21:00
Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury


Chemical Engineering has organised this workshop to openly discuss some of the hurdles faced by academics and industrialists alike during their career, and in particular during the Covid-19 restrictions. Contributions come from across Europe and also from North America, to identify similarities and differences. Some initiatives put forward within different organisations to achieve EDI goals will also be discussed. These initiatives have occurred at Departmental and Faculty levels within academia, as well as within learned societies and private organisations. The panel discussions have the goal of identifying some best practices to enable us, collectively, to achieve a working environment that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive in the near term. 

Funding for the workshop has been provided, in part, by the Royal Society of Chemistry and by the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences.

All are welcome. Please contact Giota Angeli or Alberto Striolo with queries or simply turn up!
 
Bite-Size EDI sessions bookable this term
The full suite of Bite-Size EDI sessions will run termly. There are two left for this spring:
 
Bite-Size EDI - Building EDI into appraisal objectives
24 Mar, 10:00-11:00
Appraisal objectives are one tool to think creatively and concretely about how to weave EDI into our work. EDI-related objectives can also provide good developmental opportunities, especially for staff who might be seeking ways to get involved with EDI but are uncertain about how, or where, to begin. What kinds of objectives might be useful? And how do we make them relevant and achievable? This session will discuss ways to bring an EDI focus into your appraisals – as appraiser or appraisee – and why you should.
Register for this Zoom session.
 
Bite-Size EDI - Asking about EDI in recruitment panels
6 Apr, 11:00-12:00
Because we strive to make EDI part of the UCL Ways of Working, it’s natural that it should be discussed in recruitment panels. What are we really asking about when we query candidates on their involvement with, or thoughts on, EDI initiatives? What are useful questions to ask? What kinds of answers are we looking for? This briefing will help you think about how to best use EDI-related questions when your team is recruiting.
Register for this Zoom session.  
Future events
 
  • Following the extremely positive experience of our ‘Summer of Learning on Race Inequity’ in September 2020, we are planning for a new event in a similar spirit to address disability and neurodiversity inequity. Tentative dates are 21/22 June. So, mark this in your calendar and watch out for more news!
     
  • Trans Awareness: the Basics (13 May, 13:00-14:45) - This session, open to all staff in BEAMS (Engineering, MAPS, and the Bartlett), introduces the key ideas and information people need to know about trans-related matters. Register for this Zoom session.
Confidential advice on reasonable adjustments
Staff wishing to discuss reasonable adjustments in confidence can now email reasonable.adjustments@ucl.ac.uk for advice from Lizzy Allman (EDI Manager and UCL Disability Equity Lead) and Sonal Bharadva (EDI Advisor and Dyslexia Champion).
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).