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Update from Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Allán Laville

In early January of this year, I wrote to you all about my priorities as Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Since then, we have had success in being awarded Stonewall Top 100 Employer status for the second year running and have been awarded an institutional level Athena SWAN Silver Award, with School level awards for the School of Biological Sciences (Silver) and Henley Business School (Bronze).

We have also been progressing our Race Equality Review, with the latest update provided in this story (which includes a recording of the recent all-staff briefing session led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Parveen Yaqoob and myself).

Therefore, in this written update, I would like to make colleagues aware of our work in the areas of disability and neurodiversity. 

Disability Action Plan Group

The group has now been established and has met twice since June. The Action Plan Group is co-chaired by myself and Susan Thornton (Assistant Director of HR) and has representation from the central D&I team, Estates, HR, the Staff Disability Network, Student Services, and RUSU.

The key priorities for the group are:

1) the launch of the Sunflower Lanyard scheme (news on this to follow soon);

2) designing and implementing the tailored adjustment process (also known as Disability Passport); and

3) applying for Level 1 - Committed Employer for the Government's Disability Confident Scheme.

The group is working on all three priorities at the moment and I would like to pass my thanks to Elizabeth McCrum, Greg Lowe, Nozomi Tolworthy, Rachel Thorns, Rachel Wates, Ranjita Dhital, Selina Patanker-Owens, Yota Dimitraidi and Susan Thornton for your contributions to the group.

Student Experience       

Over Summer, in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, we completed three  Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) 2020 projects that focused on students with specific learning difficulties, autism or mental health conditions and their experience of the University of Reading. The findings from all three projects will be presented at the UROP 2020 Showcase, which takes place on 18 November 2020 (more will be shared on this soon).

I would like to thank our student researchers - Bryony Banham, Charis Winter, and Michelle James, and staff collaborators, Alana James and Fiona Knott.

Upcoming seminar series - disability and neurodiversity

Jo Billington (Doctoral Researcher) and I will shortly be issuing a call for contributors for our Spring 2021 seminar series on disability and neurodiversity. The aim of the seminar series is to raise awareness of best practice and lived experience of disability and neurodiversity within Higher Education and the seminars will be delivered by staff and students.

In my personal experience, we need to raise awareness of study and work-based considerations and we look forward to discussing these further in our seminar series. These events will also tie to the key findings from the Staff Disability Network's survey on work-based considerations in light of COVID-19, which was completed over the Summer.

Join our Diversity and Equality networks

We currently have five staff networks focusing on different aspects of diversity and equality; the BAME Network, LGBT Plus Network, Parent and Family Network, Staff Disability Network, and the Women@Reading Network.

All groups welcome new members - including anyone wanting to become an ally or supporter. To find out more, please visit our Diversity and Equality Networks page.  


Dr Allán Laville

Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

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