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Staff equality, diversity and inclusion report 2019 Ethnicity actions

The University continues to bolster the actions and activities taken to both identify and address matters which specifically pertain to ethnicity. The University’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is a core strand of its Strategy 2018-2023. Within this strand a priority is achieving greater ethnic diversity and seeking to identify where there may be progress, retention and experience gaps for BAME staff with the view to taking meaningful actions to address identified gaps.

Race Equality Working Group

The University has established a Race Equality Working Group (December 2019). This group will be pivotal in addressing identifiable gaps related to ethnicity (e.g. recruitment, promotion, retention), and will work towards making underlying organisational changes to secure the Advance HE Race Equality Charter.

Equality, diversity and inclusion staff appointment

In March 2019, the University’s first Assistant Vice Principal (AVP) for Diversity was appointed. This senior-level role is a visible and high-profile demonstration of the University’s determination to place equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the St Andrews experience.

In March 2020, the University appointed a Research Fellow and Project Manager in Equalities to work with the AVP Diversity to implement EDI initiatives across the University. The University also appointed an EDI Project Officer. In addition, the University has appointed two EDI Area Leads (one for Arts and Divinity and one for Science) to further the EDI agenda within their respective faculties. These new roles build on the existing EDI staff complement of our Head of EDI, two Equality and Diversity Awards Advisers and an EDI Assistant

Recruitment and promotion

The University remains committed to attracting more BAME staff applicants; St Andrews advertised vacancies in various media publications including the Windrush Magazine (June 2018, June 2019), the Black History Month Magazine (October 2019) and the BAME Education and Careers Guide Magazine (November 2019).

Recruitment and promotion procedures have been revised to encourage applications from underrepresented groups. St Andrews is currently undertaking work to strengthen guidance for the creation of appointment panels. The University requires mandatory unconscious bias and diversity training for recruitment and promotion board members. Other measures include increasing interview consistency (with regards to panel size, questions asked, and information provided to the candidate) and minimising travel requirements, where appropriate, by using accessible technological solutions.

Leadership programme

Since 2016-2017, the University has supported three members of staff to take part in the Advance HE Diversifying Leadership (BAME) programme. This is an external programme aimed at BAME early career academics and professional services staff below senior lecturer level or equivalent (typically for University staff grades 6 to 8) who would like to develop and explore issues relating to taking their first step into a leadership role.

BAME network

In June 2018, the University launched its first Staff BAME Network. The purpose of the informal network, which is supported and fully funded by the University, is to provide:

  • a confidential forum to share knowledge and good practice through networking
  • effective solutions in policy and planning development
  • events and initiatives to increase the positive profile of visible-BAME staff.

Scottish Race Equality Network

At present, the University’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) chairs the Scottish Race Equality Network (SREN), which is a forum for sharing institutional best practice.

Race at Work Charter

In May 2019, the University became the first University to become a signatory of The Prince’s Responsible Business Network’s Race at Work Charter.

Consultation exercise

In 2019, the University undertook a large consultation exercise to collect the views of 1,000 staff and students, through focus groups and anonymised surveys. This dataset was analysed to identify key themes and, where possible, ‘group specific’ trends, including trends in BAME respondents. The BAME-specific data will be re-analysed and used to identify any perceived barriers or facilitators to promotion. This research informed the development of the University’s People Strategy and its Action Plan. Some actions in relation to the ethnicity are:

  • Extending the University web page offering to provide prospective employees with a greater understanding of what to expect from the University, for example, number of countries represented in the workforce.
  • Ensuring job design, advertising, strategic timing of recruitment and use of word of mouth and networks is optimal to attract the broadest range of talent.
  • Improving our understanding of what people’s experiences of applying and being recruited to St Andrews feels like (including from diverse perspectives).
  • Ensuring a consistent, well-planned and well-supported approach to inductions, including comprehensive diversity promotional material and answers to FAQ’s.