Launching our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy
A message from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, on Thursday 21 July.
We are a values-driven University committed to collaboratively tackling inequalities and driving societal change. Key to achieving this will be our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy, which I am sharing with you today. EDI is an inseparable component of our vision and is critical to our aim of making a positive difference in the world, as set out in our 2020–30 strategy.
In my recent blog post, I have written about the need to stop denying that there is a problem with EDI in higher education. Once we acknowledge the reality of pervasive bias in universities, we can strive together to create a more equitable environment. That may sound daunting, but it’s perfectly achievable. This new strategy will be our guide. It will help us to create an inclusive environment that is a magnet for students and staff from all backgrounds, cultures and communities. If we follow this strategy, the University of Leeds will become a place which brings the broadest representation of people together, where every person is accepted as equal, inspired to participate and empowered to succeed.
Our values of compassion, collaboration, inclusivity and integrity are at the heart of our new EDI strategy. In this video, I share how these values will help to drive the strategy and help us implement change on the ground here in Leeds.
We’re focusing on equity rather than equality in this new strategy. That’s because equity recognises that each person has a different starting point so while treating everybody equally would enable some people to get ahead in life, it also increases the chance that others remain behind. We want our EDI strategy to reflect the importance of giving individuals what they need to thrive and succeed.
My thanks go to our two current EDI Deans, Professor Louise Bryant and Professor Iyiola Solanke, who have been instrumental in helping to shape this strategy, which will feed into everything we do at Leeds. In this Inside Track feature they explain how we must work together to embrace institutional cultural change.
Although Iyiola leaves us at the end of this month for a new role, I’m confident that, following the recent appointment of Dr Kendi Guantai, alongside Louise and many others, we remain ideally placed to drive forward our vision to see Leeds become a place where everyone, regardless of their background, feels like they belong and can achieve their full potential.
This strategy will make a real difference to all our lives. I look forward to working with you to improve diversity and create a sustainable and inclusive environment that we can all be proud of.
With best wishes,
Professor Simone Buitendijk
Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds