Celebrating Community and Inclusion

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Last month we held a Culture and Inclusion celebration on campus to acknowledge and celebrate our values, our community, and all of the work which contributes to our culture and success as a university.

More than160 people joined us, and more than 30 stalls showcased the breadth of our work. Our electronic photo board gives a flavour of the event. A delicious buffet lunch inspired by global cuisine was prepared by colleagues in Campus Services. Stalls showcased research projects on inclusion; inclusive education technologies; staff equality networks; our Wellbeing programme and champions, Target Bath and the Gold Scholars’ programme, Staff Unions, and initiatives from Student Policy and Safe-Guarding, the Library, the Student Union, and much more.

Watching colleagues viewing exhibition tables and connecting in such an energised way brought home the enthusiasm and commitment across our University to build community. In addition, the ways in which colleagues in Campus services, Campus Infrastructure, and our Security Team thread inclusion into their everyday work became even more visible to me. We often say that work on inclusion involves everybody but seeing all the different stalls together in one space and watching the energising interactions brought to life the genuine contributions made by colleagues in different parts of the university. This made me even more determined to facilitate stronger connections and provide support for community and inclusion across our whole University.

We were delighted to welcome our Vice-Chancellor who spoke on some of our recent successes including every academic department gaining an Athena Swan Award, and the University of Bath becoming the proud recipient of an Institutional Silver Award. Our Disability Confident Leader Status was successfully renewed, acknowledging our inclusive practice around disability at the very highest level. We were also hugely proud to come second in the Queer University of the Year award.

A small slice of the other work we have been involved in includes our Returning Parent’s Support Fund which helps academics boost their research profile upon returning from parental leave. Together with the Doctoral College, we also hosted an inclusive PhD event, using short films produced by the Race Equality Taskforce as a platform to identify components contributing to inclusive doctoral education. The University Executive Board also participated in an inclusive leadership session with professional actors presenting situations that have occurred in our institution to promote reflection on how leaders can promote inclusion.

While there is so much that is positive, we know that staff and students continue to face challenges. We want our community to know that we are here to support them. Our Dignity and Respect policy for students and staff is there to provide a framework for all to feel protected. Our Report and Support tool provides a place to inform the University of any discrimination or harassment. Please also feel welcome to contact me and the Community and Inclusion Team. Students and staff also have free access to our SafeZone app which enables them to contact campus security colleagues 24/7  when there is an emergency, on campus or off campus.

Looking forward, we know that  while progress has been made, there is more to do.  The Community and Inclusion event celebrated the launch of our new Statement of Equality Objectives which guides our efforts up to the year 2025. Some key milestones include addressing gaps in provision which limit accessibility,  applying for the Race Equality Charter Bronze award, renewing our University of Sanctuary status and achieving our Access and Participation Plan.

Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard in making our University such a warm, welcoming and inclusive place. It has been such a privilege to work with you and I am looking forward very much to continuing to work with you in the next academic year.

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