Diversity and Wellbeing Spring Newsletter

DIW committee – As promised in the last Newsletter we are putting together a DIW committee for the school.  We would like representatives from all sections of the school including staff, post-graduates and undergraduates.  If you are keen to be involved are really want to make a positive difference to school life please contact Chris Jones (c.i.jones@reading.ac.uk), Dyan Sellayah (d.sellayah@reading.ac.uk), or Lizzy Lander (e.r.lander@reading.ac.uk).  Meetings will initially take place every 6-weeks and will be your opportunity to make meaningful positive changes to the culture of SBS and the support we offer to everyone who works and studies here.

New support for black and ethnic minority students – Congratulations to Sam Boateng who, together with Lizzy Lander, Chris Jones, Renee Lee, has been awarded funding from the Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Fund for a project to provide support for black and ethnic minority students, as well as the wider student population, in the School of Biological Sciences by providing targeted voluntary support, step-up mentoring and providing a greater sense of community. Drop-in sessions (2-3 times a term) will be designed to provide a mixture of mentoring to increase student career aspirations, key transferable skills and career advice.

New SBS DIW website – The schools DIW webpages are now live.  You can access them at –https://www.reading.ac.uk/biologicalsciences/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/diversity/sbs-div.aspx – or through the Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing link on the school homepage.  These pages contain a general introduction to the team and aim to pull together information on the support that is available to you, either through the school or the university.  We’ve hopefully made this a one-stop-shop that is easy to navigate putting the support you need at your fingertips.  If you find something missing from these pages please let me know as soon as possible and we will add it.

New DIW blog – To go with the new webpages we are also in the process of setting up and DIW blog so if would like to write something for the blog, or have an event you’d like to publicise, or a policy issue you’d like to discuss please get in touch. All contribution are welcome.

Staff questionnaire – Surveys will soon be distributed to all members of staff. The purpose of the survey is to gather demographic data that will enable us to identify any demographic imbalances in staff wellbeing, development and support (e.g. race or gender disparities). The results from the survey will also serve as a point of reference from which to judge the success or failure of future DIW initiatives.  The results of the survey will also allow us to address and implement our Athena Swan action plan ahead of our next submission. The survey will be completely confidential and voluntary but we do hope that as many of you as possible will respond.

We are a Stonewall Top 100 Employer – The University has achieved its highest ever ranking in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) 2019. We were placed 80 out of the 445 employers submitting for assessment in this year’s index, with a score of 115 out of 200.  The improved ranking is a result of many concrete actions across the University carried out by individuals, by the LGBT Plus network group, by RUSU and by Schools and Functions. Congratulations to all those who have played a part in this and please let us know what SBS can do to make sure we do even better in the future.

Toilet usage policy – The University policy on toilets is as follows:  “It is the policy of the University that individuals are able to use the toilet facilities that reflects their gender presentation during and after transition and the University provides single sex and (in many buildings) gender neutral toilets.”  This applies to any SBS building.  If you experience, or see anyone else experience, any form of harassment as a result of this policy please let me, or another member of the DIW team know immediately. You will have our support and confidence.

Springboard Women’s Development Programme – As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to women’s development, we are inviting applications for cohort 12 of the Springboard Women’s Development Programme.  Whether you want to develop your career, improve your life skills or set practical, yet stretching goals, the programme will provide practical tools and guidance to do this. The programme is for women of all backgrounds, ages and stages of their life, and combines the attendance of four full day workshops, completion of a workbook, networking and co-coaching. The deadline for applications is 22 March 2019. For more information see: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/staffportal/news/articles/spsn-792236.aspx


Calendar (a few dates for the diary – if you have an event you want publicised please let us know)

  • March 12th 2019 – Edith Morley Lecture: in conversation with Laura Bates.

19:30 (doors 19:00)

Van Emden Lecture Theatre, Edith Morley. Admission free. Booking advisable. 

Register to attend http://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/about-event-register.aspx

Annual Edith Morley lecture, an ‘In Conversation…’ style event with guest Laura Bates. Laura is author of the ‘Everyday Sexism’ and the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Girl Up’.  Named woman of the year by Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Sunday Times Magazine, Laura is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project

  • March 13th 2019 – ‘Moments of Identification’: LGBTQ+ History and Heritage

Professor Richard Parkinson, University of Oxford

15:30  Room G25, Edith Morley

Professor Parkinson’s lecture will illustrate the gradual evolution of an LGBT history project at the British Museum in a variety of formats, including A Little Gay History (2013) and subsequent exhibitions and trails. It will question how LGBT histories are best displayed – as temporary interventions or as integrated parts of permanent displays – and consider the role of an ancient historian in shaping and presenting this heritage.



Welcome to the School of Biological Sciences Blog

Welcome to the School of Biological Sciences Blog,

Over the coming months we hope to keep you updated with School news and related stories, with a particular focus on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. If you have a story you’d like published please get in touch with a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing group (Chris Jones, Dyan Selleyah or Lizzy Lander).

We look foward to more posts in the future!

The Diversity and Wellbeing Team