My week - 5 March 2014 - Professor Dawn Freshwater

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Staff and Organisational Effectiveness, reflects on inclusive leadership in higher education.

Professor Dawn Freshwater

I have just returned from Hong Kong, where the University of Leeds, together with the British Council and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, jointly hosted the Global Education Dialogue (GED) on 'Inclusive Leadership'.  The two-day event saw speakers from public and private sector, industry, banking and government, alumni and development join together in debating the impact of globalisation and increasing and unprecendented challenges facing higher education on traditional leadership models.

Our premise was that, as global players, higher education institutions must incorporate inclusive leadership practices into their strategies, but not in words alone.  As influential as we are, universities must also find ways of implementing such practices in order to remain competitive and to foster deeper and more resilient collaborations with public and private sector partners.  In other words, inclusivity at leadership level is linked to competitive edge.  UK universities, whilst being globally outstanding, have much to learn in this space, as noted by Nicola Dandridge following the event in the Universities UK blog.

The GED dialogue has taken 12 months to plan.  During this time, the University of Leeds has been funded by the British Council to undertake a a small research study looking to identify and develop case exemplars of strategies that include and implement inclusive leadeship practices.  The findings of this study will form the basis of a high-level symposium at the British Council 'Going Global' event in May later this year.

And so to our own continuing contribution to creating an inclusive working envionment.  Copies of the newly launched Equality & Inclusion Framework have been widely circulated with last week's Reporter and are downloadable from For Staff.  This Framework gives clarity and direction to our equality and inclusion objectives and has been recognised as a beacon of excellence amongst colleagues in the sector.  Thank you to all colleagues who have contributed to the development of the Framework.  We are all included in ensuring that this document translates into the lived experience.


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