Vice-Chancellor’s introduction

Our vision is to create an inclusive environment in which individuals can operate at all levels regardless of their personal circumstances. Our success as an institution depends on the diversity of our staff and students, and we value the contribution that every individual makes.

The development of Aston’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy ensures that our commitment to embracing diversity, and creating a truly inclusive environment, is communicated effectively to all stakeholders and beneficiaries.

The overarching aim of this strategy is to consolidate the many aspects of diversity and inclusion activity that are taking place across the University. This includes work around equality charters and awards, policy and training, creation of an inclusive campus, and inclusive learning environments.

Engagement with the Athena SWAN Charter has highlighted the importance of being able to efficiently access and interpret data relating to all aspects of University activity. By evaluating our data, we are able to make meaningful assessments of our position, and therefore identify key opportunities for change. By highlighting areas for wider discussion with stakeholders, we can create effective action plans and monitor the impact of new initiatives. We are currently actively working towards reducing our gender pay gap and creating opportunities that provide all staff and students with the experience they need to reach their full potential. We are being innovative in our support of those affected by disability, or who have caring responsibilities, and we are striving to eliminate the impact of direct and indirect discrimination in all aspects of our work.

Using this strategy as our framework, we will drive Aston towards being a sector leader in diversity and inclusion.

Professor Alec Cameron
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive
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The 7 principles of public life

The seven principles are the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders. They are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy aims to embed these principles within all aspects of University life.

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Diversity, inclusion and the Aston Strategy

Our mission is to be the UK’s leading university for students aspiring to succeed in business and the professions, where original research, enterprise and inspiring teaching deliver local and global impact.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy supports every aspect of this mission, and feeds into each of our values:

Aston is professional and ambitious

  • Our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy informs our students, staff, external partners and wider society about our commitment to helping everyone to succeed, regardless of background.

Aston is innovative and collaborative

  • Our approach is centered on taking opportunities to find new ways of working together, in order to address inequalities and create innovative solutions.

Aston is ethical and inclusive

  • Our diversity and inclusion work will consider all stakeholders, and will constantly evolve to ensure that we incorporate the wider social and ethical agenda. We will take every opportunity to challenge direct and indirect discrimination and support access and participation.
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Athena SWAN

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognize commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognize work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The Charter now recognizes work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

In 2018 we were awarded the silver institutional Athena SWAN award in recognition of our work towards gender equality and diversity. Our Schools are active within the Athena SWAN charter.

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Disability Confident

Disability confident is a scheme that is designed to help organisations to recruit and retain disabled people and people with health conditions for their skills and talent.

We are currently a Disability Confident Committed Employer.


Approach and Objectives

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Objective 1: Data and benchmarking

Recognising that our approach to data and analysis could be streamlined, we need to:

  • ensure that we have easy access to the right data in order to understand our current position
  • be able to interpret data to assess this current position for all individuals and all protected characteristics
  • create systems sophisticated enough to allow us to be intersectional in our approach.
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Objective 2: External recognition and awards

Recognising that the work involved in achieving external awards allows us to audit ourselves and design interventions that will affect change, we need to:

  • design efficient approaches to audit, using our data systems to reduce workload and repetition of effort
  • embrace the auditing process regardless of the outcomes, recognising that awareness has to come before change
  • create a more collaborative approach to preparation of reports, with sharing of experience across the institution and beyond.
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Objective 3: Culture change and opportunity

Recognising that data analysis and reporting allows us to identify areas for development, we need to:

  • use our data to inform deeper discussion with our staff and students regarding highlighted issues
  • Create effective and SMART action plans
  • be open to innovation and become leaders in inclusive practice within the sector.

Themes

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Culture

We will continue to build a culture in which the value of difference is celebrated:

  • We will offer a range of development opportunities for staff, including mandatory Equality and Diversity training and the Aston Women’s Development Programme.
  • We will engage with colleagues in effective ways to ensure that our people feel that their voice is heard and valued.
  • We will continue to explore innovative ways to increase the diversity of our staff including those at senior levels.
  • We will support the wellbeing and professional development of our students and staff.
  • We will offer flexible ways of working and family friendly policies.

Policies and procedures

It is vital that our policies and procedures grow and adapt as we develop as an institution:

  • We will review our policies regularly to ensure that they are consistent and effective.
  • We will review the accessibility of our policies to ensure that relevant information is easily available to all stakeholders.
  • We will engage with external partners to ensure that our recruitment and marketing materials are inclusive.
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Inclusive practice

Our approach to learning and teaching will recognise the diversity of students and staff, enabling all students to fully participate in learning activities.

  • We will provide opportunities for staff to develop best practice in inclusivity.
  • We will continue to enhance the accessibility of our campus and learning environments.
  • We will ensure that all students have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during assessments.

Implementation

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Data analysis and benchmarking will allow us to monitor progress and impact. Actions plans formed during our work towards external recognition of our diversity and inclusion activities will inform our progress.

Structure

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