I’m determined to keep these posts brief and informal so here are just a few scribbled let notes on what I’ve been up to lately.
The three days before the start of the Easter break were a busy time for meetings. I won’t bore you with all the details, but on the Tuesday I chaired the second meeting of the EDI Forum. The main item of business was a thorough-going discussion of the strategy which will shape the College’s approach to all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion over the next five years. The Forum represents a wide cross-section of views and provided some very useful critique of the draft strategy. I am aiming to broaden the consultation in the coming weeks before we finalise the strategy. Watch this space…
The following day there was the first gathering of the Working Group which will conduct a root-and-branch review of the College’s procedures and policies for dealing with sexual harassment. Our aim is to develop a robust and credible mechanisms to which students and staff who are the victims or harassment can turn for support and redress. Recent surveys of the extent of the problem at Imperial and across the UK higher education sector highlight the importance of completing this work as quickly but as thoroughly as possible. Anyone wishing to comment or contribute should get in contact.
Over the six days of the Easter break I enjoyed some family time in and around London. We visited my sister and caught up with a noisy and fast-paced production of Julius Caesar that I had been looking forward to for a couple of months. I managed to steer almost completely clear of work apart from reading Harvard’s new Inclusion strategy, which was a thoughtful and honest document, and reading Kalwant Bhopal’s provocative new book: White Privilege: The myth of the post-racial society. There’ll be more to say about that another time – I’m still cogitating.
Last week I returned to College to start the interviews for the new part-time Coordinator who will be helping us on our application for the Race Equality Charter. Work starts in earnest very soon! The week rounded off with a discussion with Imperial600 and EDIC on of how to use the feedback from Stonewall on our Work Equality Index application to prioritise improvements in the experiences of LGBTQ+ staff and students at Imperial. As with everything else on my plate right now, this is a work in progress but I’m optimistic about making some positive changes in the coming months.
And finally, on Friday afternoon I spent a few hours of marking some of the coursework from the students on the final year Science Communication course in Life Sciences. I have not lost touch with my departmental obligations!