Equality and Diversity

Equality groups

We currently have five Equality and Diversity Working Groups, all of whom report to the Equality & Diversity Committee. These groups play an important role in developing strategy and progressing initiatives for specific equality groups. They operate as sub groups of the Equality and Diversity Committee and the lead from each group sits on the EDC and formally reports issues of interest or concern, whilst updating on the progress of the group.

A number of Staff Networks are linked to the working groups and these are open to all staff and form an important part of the consultative process across a spectrum of workplace based issues, both on the academic and professional services side of the University.

If you would like to join a particular group or are interested in the possibility of forming a new network or group related to a particular protected characteristic, please contact Jo McCarthy-Holland (j.mccarthy-holland@surrey.ac.uk)

Disability equality group

The University of Surrey is committed to providing an inclusive environment for staff, students and visitors and recognises the benefits of a diverse community. We want to ensure that it can fully harness the talents, creativity and skills that people bring and maintain its continuing commitment to equality and diversity across the broader community. This includes understanding the impact of University policy and culture on individuals and making reasonable adjustments so that no disabled person is placed at substantial disadvantage.

The Disability Working Group meets three times per year and is made up of a number of representatives across the University (including HR, Estates, Health and Safety, Facilities managers, staff and students union representatives). It oversees the disability equality strategy to ensure that disabled staff, students and visitors receive the appropriate support and adjustments during their time here. This group has been considering the specific issues faced at Surrey in the context of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) report:  Enabling Equality: furthering disability equality for staff in HE. It has also been considering feedback from the staff forum, disability access group, Students Union and disability legislation.

The Disability Working Group reports on progress to the Equality and Diversity Committee.

The University has also hosted online disability forums including one that focussed specifically on Mental Health Awareness Week. These forums provided an opportunity for any member of staff to ask questions or raise any issues or concerns about accessibility, support and services for staff with disabilities.

To view the questions asked and the answers provided, click here. If you are off-campus you will be prompted to enter your university username and password before the page will load. If you experience any problems with accessing the site, please email digital.platforms@surrey.ac.uk.

For more information on the Disability Working group contact Peter Brinkley (p.brinkley@surrey.ac.uk). 

LGBT equality group

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Equality Group meets 4 times a year. The group exists to further equality for LGBT staff, students and the wider LGBT community. It acts as a lead on the University’s initiatives within the framework of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme and helps to formulate and advise University initiatives to encourage greater representation of the LGBT community in all areas of University life.

The group also contributes to and monitors the formulation, implementation and effectiveness of University policies and strategies that might impact upon the LGBT community. It reports to the Equality and Diversity Committee three times per year.

The LGBT Equality Group also organises events for LGBT History Month, details of the 2014 event can be found here.

The LGBT Equality Group has also set up the Surrey LGBT Network for staff and students who are interested in news and activities run by the LGBT Equality Group. We organise informal meetings for the network.

To get in touch, or to be added to the Network email list, you can email us on LGBT-network@list.surrey.ac.uk

Gender equality group

The gender equality group meets regularly to support the advancement and promotion of gender equality across the University by supporting Athena SWAN and other gender equality initiatives. The group is chaired by Professor Lisa Roberts, the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and reports into the Equality and Diversity Committee three times per year.

For more information please contact: Angie Cousins (a.cousins@surrey.ac.uk)

Related project:
Project Juno

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Award recognises and celebrates good practice in advancing women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

There are three levels of Athena SWAN awards, Bronze, Silver and Gold, at both University and Department levels. The Athena SWAN scheme is managed by the Equality Challenge Unit and each award is valid for three years.

The University of Surrey achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze award in November 2012 and is undergoing a programme of submitting departmental Athena SWAN submissions with the aim of all its STEMM departments to have an award by end of April 2016. The University Bronze submission is due for renewal in April 2016.

The Department of Electronic Engineering, the Centre for Environmental Strategy, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Biosciences and Medicine were all successful in achieving an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in November 2014.

Available Support

To support departments in preparing and submitting an application for consideration for an Athena SWAN award, an “Athena SWAN Departmental Submission Guidelines” document has been produced. Workshops will be offered twice per year to discuss the process and answer any questions departments have in relation to the process. These workshops will additionally include details of where you can obtain your data, both staff and student, and who to contact if there are any issues.

Although the departments are responsible for managing their submission, support and guidance will be available from the Equality and Diversity Department, 01483 682517, AthenaSWAN@surrey.ac.uk

Useful Links

Athena SWAN Departmental Guidance Documentation 

Athena SWAN Action Plan Template 

Where do I get benchmarking data from?

Athena SWAN Bronze Award Data Sources

Equality Challenge Unit Guidance

Athena SWAN Process Flow Diagram

University of Surrey Awards

Equality Challenge Unit

Faith forum

The Faith Forum affirms the reality of the existence of religious faith on campus, amongst students and staff, and the desire for faith communities and individual people of faith to have a voice within the University.  

The Forum performs two key functions.  Firstly, to enable staff and students to discuss matters connected to their faith and belief. Some of those issues may need consideration by the Equality and Diversity Committee if they demand the attention of the University, especially where discrimination is perceived to exist. Secondly, the Forum will be used by the University, through the Equality and Diversity Committee, as a place where matters that concern the University as an organisation can be discussed and responded to.

The Forum is open to students and staff from a wide a range of faith communities. The intention is that the Forum will work between faiths and will be an exemplar of multi-faith engagement and dialogue.

For further information, please contact The Revd Canon Andrew Bishop (a.bishop@surrey.ac.uk).

Race Equality Group

The University of Surrey has signed up for the Race Equality Charter Mark

The sign-up process started with Vice Chancellor Max Lu writing a letter to the Equality Challenge Unit to ask to join the Race Equality Charter Mark, this request has been granted, we now start the process in earnest, with an application deadline of Spring 2018.

The University of Surrey’s Race Equality Group has become the Race Equality Charter Mark Self-Assessment Team RECM SAT. It will be their responsibility, with support from various colleagues from across the University, to deliver a strong application.

The Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter (REC) looks to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. It provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action, and can apply for a Bronze or Silver REC award, depending on their level of progress.
The REC covers professional and support staff, academic staff, student progression and attainment
and the diversity of the curriculum.

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) began developing the REC in 2012 following the impact Athena SWAN has had in gender equality. There was a growing appetite for a race-specific charter within the sector, and many of ECU’s key stakeholders were actively supportive of the development.
ECU consulted on the concept of a race equality charter, developed a draft framework, and then consulted again with the sector. Following this development, we trialed the framework with volunteer institutions, resulting in 21 applications and eight institutions receiving a Bronze award. Those institutions are: De Montfort University, King’s College London, Kingston University, Royal Holloway University London, Staffordshire University, University of Hertfordshire, University College London and University of Manchester.

As with Athena SWAN, REC is an evolving charter. Institutions are expected to start at Bronze level and progress to Silver. In the longer-term, we also anticipate the charter criteria changing as the sector progresses and race.