Subscriber stories: King’s College London
Debbie Epstein, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, outlines the equality landscape at King's College London.
“Athena SWAN and the Race equality charter mark provide sector-wide frameworks, that are great levers for change.”
What encouraged you to subscribe to ECU?
Athena SWAN and the Race equality charter mark provide sector-wide frameworks, that are great levers for change. They help to set an expectation across the sector of where we should be and provide a road map for getting there.
What are the main equality and diversity challenges you have in the year ahead that ECU will be able to support you with?
We have recently set a diversity and inclusion key performance indicators; are working with each Executive Dean and Head of Professional Services on an integrated set of actions which support this; there is lots of positive change occurring across the university to improve the staff and student experience and opportunities to embed inclusion as part of this – so its keeping up with demand.
Where does equality and diversity sit within your university’s strategy?
King’s Futures is a transformation programme which aims to help us build on our successes and adapt to changing circumstances to ensure we deliver outstanding research and education. Diversity and inclusion is a thread that runs throughout this plan. As mentioned above we have corporate and faculty diversity and inclusion KPIs, which we hope to roll out to Professional Services Directorates in due course.
What piece of ECU work has been most helpful to you?
Athena SWAN was fairly key in helping to build a culture change around diversity and inclusion and repositioning it in the minds of leaders across the institution.
What is your personal highlight of working with equality and diversity at your institution?
As part of our Race equality charter mark submission preparation, we held a meeting in January 2015 to engage with senior managers on the topic of race equality. Over 40 heads of faculty/directorate attended. They heard a recording of the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students describing their experiences at King’s, which had been gathered in the course of our research. It was a powerful moment!
What one action would you recommend that universities take to advance equality for staff or students?
Our programme of unconscious bias workshops has helped to engage stuff at an individual level and open their eyes to the importance and value of diversity and inclusion more broadly.