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Find out more about Mark Hughes and his plans for Social Responsibility in FSE

07 Aug 2019

We caught up with Dr Mark Hughes, Department of Physics and Astronomy, following the announcement of his new role as the Faculty of Science and Engineering's Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Can you tell us more about your new role as Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility?

The role is to take the lead in driving the Faculty’s vision for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) by developing a strategy, building on targets and responsible processes. Essentially it is to try to create an environment where a fair and diverse community is at the heart of all we do as a Faculty.

How did you get involved in this area?

Many years ago, while working at another university I was asked to provide some mentoring for a student with Asperger’s Syndrome (more recently referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD). The student was academic and very able but was struggling in the university environment. I came to realise that there was a real need in the HE sector to provide guidance for staff who are supporting students with ASD. 

I decided to produce a resource pack for the physical sciences. It was a collaboration between academics and university disability professionals, a team that could bring different insights. The pack is still being used by our own Disability Advisory and Support Service to help colleagues.

When I moved to Manchester ,several things came together -  I had a developing reputation as someone with a commitment to EDI, and I was working at a university where social responsibility (including EDI) was seen as core business.

What are your priorities in the first year?

Helping our Schools on their Athena Swan journey has to be a key priority. I also see the Athena Swan awards as a springboard to helping with other areas of diversity. If we get Athena Swan right then we are getting our processes right. There are lots of opportunities to spread best practice.

Universities are cradles of talent, but in EDI we often find little pockets of excellence where colleagues have a real passion and commitment to one particular area, and whilst locally valued they may not be widely known. I want to bring together these staff so that we can draw upon their expertise.

What are you most looking forward to about this new role?

I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across the Faculty, getting to know each of the new Schools and their Departments and pushing our diversity work forward.

What are your interests outside of work?

I have two young children, 1 and 4 year old girls - do I have any free time?  However, I enjoy being out in nature with the family.

What would be your death row meal?   

I really like roti canai (a kind of flat bread) and teh tarik halia (a sweet ginger tea). When I travel to Malaysia to visit my wife’s family I always seek them out and probably eat/drink too much…