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Staff and student networks

Home / About / Equality, Diversity and Inclusion / Networks

The University has a wide range of networks open for both staff and students to join.

Students in a church

Staff Networks:

  • Pride Staff Network (LGBTQI+)
  • REACH Staff Network (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage)
  • Menopause Staff Network
  • Family Staff Network
  • Carers Staff Network
  • Enable Staff Network (Disabilities and Long Term Health Conditions)
  • Veterans and Reservists Staff Network

The aim of the groups are to: 

  • Create connections, a safe space, shared purpose, interests and sense of belonging for members 
  • To share problems, knowledge, ideas, situations and lessons 
  • Solving problems and challenges for members
  • Bringing resources, processes and other ways of change to the University 
  • Being a powerful voice and source for positive change, embedded across the whole University 

If you wish to join any of these staff networks or wish to have a discussion about creating one then please contact justine.gillespie@sunderland.ac.uk, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager. 


The full-time University Chaplain is the Reverend Chris Howson. He is based within Student Support Services, 1st Floor Edinburgh, City Campus or at the Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre, St Peters Campus SR6 0AN.

Chris can be reached at chris.howson@sunderland.ac.uk.

The University is also supported by associate chaplains of different faiths, find out more on Student wellbeing pages.

Other networks:

Athena SWAN

Launched in June 2005, ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN). The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) in higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

As a university which remains committed to the principles of Athena SWAN, the University of Sunderland was one of the first, groundbreaking universities that was awarded Bronze Award status for the advancement and promotion of careers of women in SET. Subsequently, we have continued to make significant progress and practical changes that address gender equality, and we successfully renewed our Bronze Award status in April 2019.

We are also delighted that our Psychology School also achieve a bronze award in April 2021 with the Faculty of Technology submitting in January 2022


This is a network for students and academics at the University who have research interests in gender and sexuality.

Their aims are:

  • To expand interdisciplinary links across the University amongst those academics who have an interest in gender and sexuality
  • To promote an active research culture amongst academics in the area of gender and sexuality studies
  • To encourage debates and offer a space in which to exchange ideas
  • To extend a network between academics and students in the University in the area of gender and sexuality studies

Subscribe to their email list
, or contact angela.smith@sunderland.ac.uk for more information. 

The Race, Class and Ethnicity (RaCE) interdisciplinary research network

The Race, Class and Ethnicity (RaCE) Interdisciplinary Research Network was inaugurated in October 2018. It was developed as a response to the current and historic realities woven into the lived experiences of race, class, and ethnicity in everyday locations. The fundamental logics of the network are that societal concerns related to economy, poverty and racisms retain their power as influencing factors in everyday places and spaces. How these three intersecting social constructs are understood and materialise are of central concern to the Equality Act 2010 and to the requirements of public bodies to develop anti-discriminatory and inclusive practices.

More information is available in our Research section.