MPLS ED&I Strategy and Team
In MPLS, we want to develop and sustain an inclusive culture where diversity is valued and equity prevails. Our ED&I team strives to:
- Foster a community where everyone feels they belong and can be themselves;
- Embrace change and challenge the status quo to improve our institution; and
- Advocate for equity and justice, amplifying the voices of marginalised communities.
We believe in putting people first. We all have a role in maintaining a supportive, fair, and empathic environment, ensuring that everyone can thrive. ED&I is everyone’s responsibility. To do this, we need actions and impact, not merely words. Addressing our issues head-on in a self-reflexive, collaborative manner, gives us the strongest chance for success.
To achieve our aims, we try to LEAD by example – by that we mean the following.
- Learn: we listen and learn in order to identify issues and inequalities, and work to address them. We are on a journey of self, team, and institutional improvement. We may make mistakes, but we always strive to do better. This is a life-long process of learning to seek deeper understanding and awareness – beyond superficial or performative actions.
- Enable: from supporting grassroots efforts to advising senior leadership, we work to support, enable, and inspire our departments and members to embed ED&I principles and values in everything that they do. We help share good practice, give guidance, and provide platforms for people to connect and collaborate.
- Advocate: we take a critical and constructive approach to driving institutional change at various levels where needed – departmental, divisional and central. We serve as a voice for others to challenge entrenched inequality and unnecessary hierarchies.
- Demonstrate: only by trying different approaches and creating innovative initiatives, will there be potential for positive change. We believe in role modelling good practice and behaviours, communicating what we do, and showing the impact of our efforts – leading to greater transparency and accountability.
In terms of what we do, simply put, we challenge, collaborate and celebrate. ED&I work requires us to contest established conventions, work alongside others, and recognise achievements, big and small. This work is deeply empathetic and can be emotionally draining. Self-care is necessary and collective celebration is important to raise visibility and sustain momentum.
Our ED&I team has knowledge and expertise across ED&I areas, and supports the Division –partnering with departments – in a number of ways. To find out more about what we are each responsible for, visit our team page on the MPLS website.
- Departmental ED&I support and advice for local ED&I activities and Athena Swan applications.
- Divisional and cross-divisional initiatives where joining across departments is most effective, for example with Beyond Boundaries, and Diversifying STEM Curriculum.
- Data collection and analysis, particularly for Athena Swan submissions and the University-wide Staff Experience Survey.
- Communications and sharing information through our MPLS ED&I Knowledge Hub, MPLS webpage, and MPLS ED&I Network mailing list.
- Events, awards and celebrations, such as our MPLS ED&I Awards and ED&I related events for Black History Month, LGBT+ History Month, International Women’s Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Pride, and others.
- Training and development delivered by team members, colleagues in the University, and by external providers to offer a range of online and face-to-face ED&I learning opportunities on topics such as implicit bias, responsible bystander, allyship, anti-racism, and many others.
- Build capacity and community to engage members across the Division on ED&I through our ED&I Fellows scheme and supporting networks such as BIPOC STEM Network, and providing funding for local initiatives that have potential for wider divisional impact through our MPLS ED&I Fund.
- Governance and strategy to embed ED&I principles and activity throughout our divisional structures, specifically with our MPLS ED&I Steering Group, supporting departmental ED&I committees, and representing the division on University-wide ED&I committees.
- Advising on central policies and guidance where divisional views are sought, signposting departments to University policies, and considering additional divisional guidance where needed.
All of this work takes dedication and resource. A divisional commitment to building capacity at all levels is important so that the work does not rest on the same, small group of people. The enthusiastic and engaged people doing this work should be properly recognised and remunerated for ED&I roles of all types. Greater investment will reap further gains in attracting, retaining, and progressing talented staff and students.
In the coming academic year, the ED&I team will be busy focusing on delivering our ED&I team plans and implementing the divisional ED&I action plan developed by the ED&I Steering Group.
We will work towards:
- Stronger communication and co-creation of ED&I activity;
- Impactful and meaningful actions delivered effectively;
- Greater engagement within and beyond the Division and University;
- Appropriate training for everyone, including enhanced supervision and support for those engaged in ED&I work;
- Embedding ED&I principles among managers/PIs;
- Systemic monitoring and evaluation of departmental and divisional initiatives;
- Ensuring accountability and transparency of our work.
We welcome your ideas and thoughts, so please do reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share comments or join us in this effort create and sustain inclusive cultures in MPLS.