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Assistant Vice-Principal (Diversity)

The Assistant Vice-Principal (Diversity) supports the University’s commitment to have equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the St Andrews experience. Responsibilities of the Vice-Principal (Diversity) include:

  • contributing to and supporting the work of cross-institutional groups to develop a People Strategy;
  • taking forward the ambitious agenda set out in the University’s Equality Outcomes and supporting its action plan and associated statutory
  • reporting requirements for embedding diversity and inclusion at the heart of the St Andrews experience;
  • leading work to enable the University to attain the Race Equality Charter mark and renew and attain other core award schemes;
  • building upon the positive culture change that resulted from the 2017 Athena Swan award;
  • ensuring that Equality and Diversity issues are fully considered in terms of decision-making processes put in place for REF 2021;
  • developing the governance structure for the University’s activities on equality, diversity, and assurance, including chairing the University’s AS/ISAT, Equality Compliance Group and other relevant committees and working groups;
  • being involved in the University’s widening access agenda;
  • strategic involvement with policy and practice concerning staff and students with mental health and disabilities;
  • giving focus to intersectionality and the promotion of a strongly diverse community, improving the ethnicity and race profile of both staff and students;
  • assisting the University to work strategically to remove the gender pay gap;
  • contributing to and influencing governmental policy making on Equality and Diversity issues;
  • coordinating development and delivery of training programmes to develop diverse talent;
  • assisting with the development of networks and digital materials, to support these activities.

Professor Ruth Woodfield

The current Assistant Vice-Principal (Diversity) is Professor Ruth Woodfield. She has held this role since 2019.

Ruth Woodfield is Professor of Equalities and Organisation in the School of Management. She joins the Principal’s office from the School, where she had previously acted as Co-Head.

Her research primarily focuses on inequalities in the context of higher education and employment. She has particular interests in the experiences and outcomes of different socio-demographic groups in higher education and employee experiences in highly gender-segregated organisations and occupations, exploring, in particular the relationship between equality laws and policies and local practices. She has published articles on a wide range of inequalities topics including: ethnicity and retention in higher education; student age and first destination employment; student attendance patterns and degree classification. She has also written monographs on women in computing, gendered occupational choice, and been commissioned to write HE sector reports on topics such as men’s experiences of pastoral and academic support in higher education and retention and attainment patterns across the disciplines.

Ruth’s most recent project focuses on concepts of excellence in relation to academic research, the REF and gender.  

Ruth came to St Andrews in 2013 from the University of Sussex, where she was Professor of Sociology. She also held the roles of Head of Department (Sociology); School Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (School of Law, Politics and Sociology); Sub-Dean of the School of Social Sciences.

Ruth holds a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Social & Political Thought (University of Sussex) and a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies (Science Policy Research Unit).