Equality, diversity and inclusion need to be at the heart of everything we do at Kingston University. A key element of this is to ensure the University itself has practices that benefit a diverse staff and student body. To help meet this need we have fundamentally changed the system and culture of academic progression and promotion (APP) at the University, so that routes to the highest tiers of academia are open to all. This ongoing project is recognised as innovative and an example of best practice, having received the prestigious Guardian University Award for Diversity Initiative 2014.
Before the project began, the career path for academic staff at Kingston University was typical of higher education in the UK. To achieve the professorial grade, candidates usually followed a research-heavy career path. The result was that many of the top jobs at the University and indeed the higher education sector are held predominantly by white men.
The University has taken a number of 'cross-cutting' steps to mainstream equality, diversity and inclusion in this academic change. This includes:
Also, equality, diversity and inclusion is now included in official demonstrations and case studies for completing an application, used in terms of reference for the Education and the Quality Enhancement Committees, and is promoted across job criteria.
Opening up career paths at the University is not just about changing policies regarding recruitment and promotion. It is also, more importantly, about challenging people's mindsets. As such, the University has taken a number of practical and innovative steps to bring equality, diversity and inclusion to the forefront of recruiters' and managers' decision making. These included running a number of workshop sessions to shine a light on equality, diversity and inclusion, and panel training to help interviewers recognise their own, albeit unconscious or implicit bias. These ensured a wide and interested audience were informed about equality, diversity and inclusion and helped win over the sceptics.
To ensure we are taking the right steps and moving in the right direction, all of our academic progression and promotion work is backed up by robust evidence and data.
Kingston University is making good progress towards true equality, diversity and inclusion across academic progression and promotion. The groundwork has been completed and is beginning to make an impact.
"Kingston University took a very granulated approach to thinking about the issue and looking to bring together a range of different identities to really address historic areas of chronic under representation and disadvantage."
Guardian Awards judging panel