Subscriber stories: University of Surrey
Angie Cousins, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, reflects on how ECU has supported her work at University of Surrey over the past ten years.
‘The support and guidance from ECU has been integral not only to my development but for my university, to become a destination of choice for staff and students.’
What encouraged you to subscribe to ECU?
Over the past ten years as the equality lead for the University of Surrey, the support and guidance from ECU has been integral not only to my development but for my university, to become a destination of choice for staff and students who can see that this important agenda is at the heart of the institution’s culture and vision for the future.
What are the main equality and diversity challenges you have in the year ahead that ECU will be able to support you with?
To continue with adding to our Athena SWAN success. To ensure a successful institutional Athena SWAN Bronze renewal and use this as a spring board when working towards an institutional Silver award. To embark on our the Race Equality Charter in 2016 and for the ECU account manager to help review how my team can develop and deliver our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy 2015-17, with impact across the fiercely competitive international and national HE sector.
Where does equality and diversity sit within your university’s strategy?
Our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy 2015-17 sits within the context of the University of Surrey’s mission, vision, core values and wider strategies. It identifies the university’s approach to promoting equality across the full range of its activities, in employment, teaching, and learning and as a partner working within local, national and international communities.
What piece of ECU work has been most helpful to you?
What is your personal highlight of working with equality and diversity at your institution?
Using my 20 years plus experience in the higher education sector to develop the role of Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Surrey and to bring this vital agenda to the forefront of my university. The impact on promoting greater understanding and engagement with equality, diversity and inclusion issues across the university through one to ones, focus groups, support of Executive Board and Council members – to ensure that equality is an integral part of all that we do here at Surrey and not just an add on or a legal obligation, which makes this a very special place to work, study and visit. For me this has been the best role I have ever had in the sector and I respect the position of trust that comes with being the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Surrey.
What one action would you recommend that universities take to advance equality for staff or students?
That unconscious bias training and diversity training is mandatory. If we believe in what we do why not ensure that all who work or study at universities understand that this training is vital in understanding and being part of the higher education sector.