The work that universities and business schools do to ensure EDI is more important than it has ever been.
At Durham University Business School we strongly believe that all staff and students are happier, enjoy their work and studies more and perform better in an environment where everyone respects and understands the value of different people working together; where everyone is treated fairly and where negative behaviours and attitudes such as prejudice, discrimination and harassment are unacceptable.
Decolonising the Curriculum
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 Student’s Union. Funding has been provided to employ student interns to work closely with academic staff in decolonising our curriculum.
Our aim is that no student will be able to complete a degree within Durham University Business School without significant exposure to the issues and debates that are directly relevant to the decolonisation agenda.
Our journey towards decolonizing the curriculum has culminated in the launch in summer 2023 of the DUBS Decolonizing the Curriculum Toolkit. This tool aims to guide curriculum development and share research and best practices. The process towards the toolkit has included to identify a module in each Department as a pilot for the toolkit and undertake several student-led projects to inform the toolkit.
Race Equality Charter
As for Athena Swan, the School is also spearheading the 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.
The work on Decolonising the Curriculum and REC is led by the Faculty EDI Lead for Race and Ethnicity and is in collaboration with the the Business School faculty and academic departments.
To support the above initiatives, we run 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 issues among the School and University community. Latest events have included keynote talks for Black History Month and International Women’s Day, a LGBTQ+ workshop and EDI training opportunities. The EDI Fora are organised by the School and Departmental EDI Leads.
Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good practices in higher education towards the advancement of gender equality. Institutions and also individual departments can apply for one of three levels of award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Both Durham University and the Business School hold the Bronze Award, and are in the process of applying the Silver Award. This means that we have done a detailed 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 priority identified for the Silver Award are:
Continuing to improve gender balance through EDI-effective recruitment, career progression and promotion throughout the Business School
Continuing and building upon our progress of the Culture Change for inclusiveness and inclusive leadership in the Business School
Continuing to improve staff and student wellbeing and work-life balance in the School.
Developing good practice in identifying and addressing intersectional issues in the School.
Continuing to increase women applications to those programmes in which they are under-represented, particularly to improve female student recruitment in Economics.
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 EDI at the Business School. Please contact your Departmental EDI Lead, or your line manager if you are interested.
If we all do this, then we can make Durham University Business School a place where we can all flourish.