University of Reading

Embracing diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of the University of Reading.

We want to be the place where everyone can fulfil their full potential. And we believe that supporting diversity and inclusion leads to an ability to attract and retain high-quality staff and students, as well as higher achievements in students from a broader range of backgrounds.

When this is coupled with the simple moral argument that no one should experience inequality as a result of who they are, the case for supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion becomes imperative.

We know that real change does not happen overnight. It requires cultural and operational change, and takes all of us working together.

A lot of this is about making small changes that deliver a big impact. Changes to the way we identify and advertise vacancies. Changes to how we shortlist and interview candidates. Changes to how we develop individuals and manage their pathways to career progression in the University. Changes to our ways of working so that we promote creativity, flexibility and innovation.

To this end, the University has introduced a number of initiatives. For example, we support flexible working, job sharing and parental leave, and offer a transparent and inclusive recognition and reward process.

Our senior leadership has also committed to a number of equality targets for staff and students.

We know that we can only achieve our vision of being a world-class, forward-looking, confident and ambitious university by recruiting, supporting and developing staff from the widest variety of backgrounds.

And we have a proud history of diversity and inclusion. The University of Reading was the first English university to appoint a female professor (Edith Morley, 1908) and one of our former Vice-Chancellors (Lord Wolfenden) played a key role in decriminalising homosexuality in England and Wales.

Our priorities for progress

For our staff, there are many diversity and inclusion initiatives and activities underway in areas where we wish to make progress. We’ve also identified three areas as a priority for continued improvement:

  • Gender. We want to enable more women to progress and participate in leadership roles.
  • Ethnicity. We want to ensure that we have a diverse range of people employed across all roles, including leadership roles.
  • Sexual orientation. It’s important that everyone feels comfortable in being themselves at work and are confident to be open about their sexuality if they wish to do so.

Identifying priority areas is not at the exclusion of other protected characteristics; for example, we also have ongoing activities associated with disability and religious faith and belief.

For our students, we have also identified priority areas:

  • Race. We want teaching, learning, assessment and student support to engage students of all races and ethnicities, and help them excel.
  • Gender. Student activities should engage all genders; curriculum and practice should be proactively inclusive.
  • Disability. We should proactively cater for the needs and approaches of our students with disabilities.

You can help with our understanding of how we’re doing by ensuring that your personal information is up to date on Employee Self Service, and help us make progress by getting involved. You can also see how we’re doing by reading our annual diversity and inclusion report.