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New colleagues join our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team

05 Mar 2019

Dr Rachel Cowen joins Dr Dawn Edge as our lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion while Professor Alys Young leads our work for the Disability Equalities Standard

L-R Rachel Cowen, Dawn Edge, Alys Young

The University has appointed Dr Rachel Cowen as a lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, job sharing with Dr Dawn Edge, who has been in the role since 2015.

In addition, Professor Alys Young will lead our work towards the Disability Equalities Standard.

Rachel, a Senior Lecturer and co-founder of the Centre for Researcher Development (CARD) in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, said: “I am passionate about supporting individuals to achieve their ambitions and creating an inclusive academic environment where everyone is recognised and rewarded for the work that they do. My focus will be to reduce gender inequalities. I also want to elevate the conversation around equality, diversity and inclusion moving away from “it’s a women’s issue” or “minority group issue” to its “everyone’s issue”.”

Dawn, a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health in the School of Health Sciences, said: “I will focus particularly on EDI in relation to student matters and collaborating with students and staff to ensure we create more inclusive learning environments in which we can all thrive.”

Alys, Professor of Social Work and also lead the Social Research with Deaf People (SORD) group within the School of Health Sciences, will lead the University’s work using the Business Disability Forum (BDF) online management tool to measure and improve our performance for disabled staff, service users and stakeholders. This will allow us to apply for the Disability Standard, which is similar to others the University is engaged with such as Athena SWAN, Race Equality Charter and the Stonewall Index.

This is both in support of our equality objectives and in response to Staff Survey 2017, which revealed that disabled staff are proportionately less likely to be content with University employment than other staff.

Professor Young, said: “My first priority is to listen to the perspectives and experiences of disabled people within the University.

“However, for the University to successfully engage in a process of strengthening and adding to its approach and processes to promote disability equalities at all levels and in all domains activity, it is the vast majority of people who may not regard themselves as having anything to do with disabled people and disability-related concerns who must also be engaged. I sincerely hope you will join me in the work ahead.”

Professor James Thompson, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, said: “I’m delighted we now have three colleagues working to expand the EDI agenda across the University.

“Please work with them and contribute to making the University a diverse, inclusive and more equal institution – but of course also bring to our attention any issues and concerns for when it is not meeting these ambitions.”