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Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

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The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion

At Durham University Business School, we make sure that the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion permeate everything we do. We are proud to be a highly diverse community of students and staff, representing a multitude of backgrounds, perspectives, approaches and needs. We recognise and respect differences, we value the opportunity to study and work together, and we are always excited to learn from each other. Through a range of initiatives across all our activities, we continuously strive to make our School more equitable and inclusive for everyone. We have a dual emphasis on celebrating diversity and leveraging its positive aspects to the benefit of all members of our community, and on eliminating negative behaviours and attitudes such as prejudice, discrimination and harassment.

Below you will find examples of the work we have been conducting recently in order to implement our EDI agenda.

Creating a more inclusive working environment (“Working Well Together”)

As a Business School, one of the things that we teach our students is how to make businesses and other types of organisations more equitable and inclusive. But we do not stop at teaching it, as we are also committed to making Durham University Business School a more equitable and inclusive working environment. In the academic year 2022/23, we introduced a set of small yet powerful modifications to our working practices with the view to make them more inclusive and reduce the level of stress and pressure everybody is under. We encourage staff to embed these changes in their working practices. They  include:

  • Scheduling meetings within the core hours of 10.00am – 4.00pm. We believe that scheduling meetings within core hours supports our staff, especially those with family caring responsibilities, in juggling different types of commitments during the working week.
  • Scheduling meetings in a way that allows everybody a little time to take a “comfort break” between different commitments throughout the working day (for instance, 50 mins instead of a full hour; 25 minutes instead of half an hour etc.). It is important for everybody’s wellbeing and for the quality and inclusivity of our working environment to have the opportunity to refresh, stretch, take a short break from the screen, or perhaps to walk from one location to another within worrying about having to leave one meeting early in order to arrive at another one on time.
  • Advising that colleagues seek to only send emails within the time boundaries of Monday to Friday, 8.00am – 6.00pm. We realise that there are sometimes exceptions, but this practice encourages colleagues to take time away from work.
  • Keeping Fridays, as far as possible, “meetings-free” and “emails-light”. We believe that turning Fridays into quieter days gives all our staff the chance to “catch up” on tasks which they might not have been able to complete earlier in the week. In particular, for those academic staff whose responsibilities include both education and research, keeping Fridays “meetings-free” and “emails-light” makes it easier to allocate blocks of uninterrupted time to research, and to produce world-class research for which Durham University is renowned.

We keep exploring how to make our working practices more equitable, inclusive and sustainable so watch this space to find out about additional initiatives which we will be introducing in the coming months!

Social impact

Durham University Business School’s academics conduct world-class research which is both academically rigorous and socially impactful. We make the world a more equitable and inclusive place through generating actionable knowledge, providing recommendations for public policy and business practice, and working with communities locally, regionally and internationally. To find out about the positive social impact that DUBS research makes, check our Impact Hub pages.

Decolonising the Curriculum (DtC)

The call to decolonise universities across the globe has gained significant momentum in recent years, leading many universities to begin reviewing their curricula through a decolonising lens. This is a University-wide project at Durham, and is being undertaken in collaboration with the Durham University Students’ Union. Every year, we fund student interns to work closely with academic staff in each Department as well as at School level on a range of projects related to decolonising our curriculum (DtC).

Our ambition is to make sure that all students, upon completing a degree within Durham University Business School, will have had significant exposure to the issues and debates that are directly relevant to the decolonisation agenda.

Our journey towards decolonising the curriculum has culminated in the launch in summer 2023 of the DUBS Decolonising the Curriculum Toolkit. The DtC Toolkit brings together a set of guidance, practical advice and resources aimed at supporting our educators in their curriculum development work through sharing relevant research and best practices. In developing the DtC toolkit, we drew on the expertise and perspectives of staff and students interns in each Department through identifying and implementing DtC principles within “pilot” modules.

Athena SWAN

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good practices in higher education towards the advancement of gender equality. Institutions and individual departments can apply for one of three levels of award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Both Durham University and the Business School currently hold the Bronze Award, and are in the process of applying for the Silver Award. This means that we have undertaken a thorough self-examination of where we are at with gender equality across the Faculty, and that we have developed a detailed action plan to help us address gendered inequalities in the institution.

Our renewed key priorities identified in working towards the Silver Award are:

  1. Continuing to improve gender balance through EDI-effective recruitment, career progression and promotion throughout the Business School.
  2. Continuing and building upon our progress of the Culture Change for inclusiveness and inclusive leadership in the Business School.
  3. Continuing to improve staff and student wellbeing and work-life balance in the School.
  4. Developing good practice in identifying and addressing intersectional issues in the School.
  5. Continuing to increase women applications to those programmes in which they are under-represented, particularly to improve female student recruitment in Economics.

Race Equality Charter

As with Athena SWAN, the School is also committed to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter (REC).

In March 2019, Durham University signed up to the REC, which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of racially minoritised communities within higher education. 

REC provides a robust framework that guides the University in identifying and evaluating institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of racially minoritised staff and students. 

Durham University was awarded a REC Bronze Award in July 2022. 

EDI Fora

To support an ongoing dialogue and to create space for mutual learning, the School runs a regular series of seminars and workshops with internal and external contributors: the EDI Fora. These provide an open and safe space to discuss EDI challenges among the School and University community. The events held over the year have included keynote talks to mark Black History Month and International Women’s Day, a LGBTQ+ workshop and EDI training opportunities.

Get Involved

Everyone has a part to play, but what part you play, is your choice. They are all important. Staff and students can get involved in making the Business School more equitable and inclusive. The School has two EDI Co-Leads as well as Departmental EDI Leads in each of the four Departments. If you are interested in getting more involved in EDI work, please do contact one of them or your line manager. 

If we all do this, then we can make Durham University Business School a place where we can all flourish.