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For further information on any aspect of this report, contact one of the following representatives directly.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Sir David Bell KCB DL

When COVID-19 struck in the spring of 2020, few thought we would still be managing its consequences nearly two years later. Undoubtedly, it has tested us – collectively and individually – in many ways.

Yet, the pandemic has not weakened our resolve to make the University of Sunderland a great place to study and work, and one where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. That should not be a surprise because we are an institution with a life-changing purpose, underpinned by strong values

We can report on good progress this year in everything from the improved academic performance of students from minority backgrounds, through outstanding support for our care-experienced and estranged communities, to our active work to combat period poverty. These are just but a few examples of our achievements, all of which help to create a positive atmosphere across our campuses.

I remain grateful to Professor Jon Timmis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Commercial) for his leadership, on behalf of the University Executive, as we seek to maximise the impact of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. Justine Gillespie, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, is a highly effective colleague who has accelerated our work across all aspects of EDI while, at the same time, continuing to remind us that it has to be a collective effort.

I would pay tribute to the Students’ Union (SU) for the excellent work they are doing. All three SU Presidents – covering the areas of education, welfare, and activities – have a strong focus on EDI. They have now been joined by a new President for the University of Sunderland in London, enabling the SU to strengthen further its work on EDI.

Finally, our approach to EDI is driven by a sense of justice and the view that each person must be able to fulfil their potential. But it is also the smart thing to do because our success as a university and, indeed, our success as a society – socially, economically, and culturally – depends on every individual succeeding, irrespective of background. The University of Sunderland is proud to be playing its part in making that happen.

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Deputy Vice Chancellor (Commercial)

Professor Jon Timmis

The University’s Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility (EDISR) Annual Report sets out its key achievements during 2020-21. It has been another challenging year, with the on-going issues of the pandemic and the effect that has had on our staff and students. This ongoing challenge has meant that it has been critical that we ensure we support our staff and students as best we can, and that issues concerning equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) remain important and considered at all levels of the organization. I hope you will agree that after reading this report, you will see that the work we have done really has made a difference to staff, students and people that we work with, and we have become even more inclusive in our approach.

Building on the success of the previous year, we have increased and broadened our training provision on EDI, with an increasing number of external speakers on a wide range of issues. The staff networks have gone from strength to strength, developing from supporting each other to now raising issues around policies that effect the University. I welcome this a great deal, and have found that the networks are now a powerful voice that are able to raise concerns, or highlight good practice so that others can follow. I have the pleasure of attending a number of times a year network meetings. These are always great meetings to go to, and I would like to offer my appreciation to all members of the networks for letting me attend and for offering their honest and constructive views, it is a genuine pleasure to attend. This year also saw the parents and carers network produce a pantomime for December 2021, and I had the dubious honor of being a part of that cast. The work the many people put into the panto, I hope, was worth it and bought smiles to many faces, despite what was a very challenging period.

I am pleased to highlight the successful Bronze Athena Swan award for the School of Psychology. There was a huge amount of work necessary for this, and it was wonderful to get this result that reflects the great work that is going on in the school. Members of the school have been very generous with their time and support for other schools who are now going through the same process.

As ever, the success of our work is a direct result of the positive engagement that we have experienced across the whole University and for that I offer my sincere thanks to all. I said this last year, but I think it is really important to emphasise, everyone, no matter what their job is at the University, has a role to play in the EDISR agenda. Please don’t underestimate the effect that each one of us can have through the way we act, behave and support one another. I really feel we are starting to live our University value of being inclusive.  We have some distance to go, but I firmly believe that we are on the right path to being an even better place to work and study, and that being inclusive is at the heart of everything we do.

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EDI Manager

Justine Gillespie

Deputy Chair of the Equality Diversity and Social Responsibility Group Email: justine.gillespie@sunderland.ac.uk

We have seen recognisable progress in diversity within the University, but hiring a diverse workforce doesn’t guarantee that every employee has the same experience or opportunities at work.

Inclusion is what is needed to give diversity a real impact, and drive towards a world of work where all our staff and students are empowered to thrive. Whilst diversity and inclusion often go hand in hand, inclusion is fundamentally about individual experience and allowing everyone at work to contribute and feel a part of an organisation. That is why creating an inclusive culture is a priority.

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