Belonging: A reflection of the last 12 months how far have we come ? 

Hello,

Now this year is drawing to a close, I wanted to share with you some updates on the first year of our ‘Belonging’ Strategy, what our achievements have been and the progress over the last 12 months.

Key success for 2022/2023

  • Successful re-accreditation of Disability Confident Leader    
  • Focus on Belonging throughout June to profile Inclusion across the organisation.
  • Reducing trend in our Median Gender Pay Gap for the fourth consecutive year down to 11.29%.
  • Launch of our Allyship Pledge Scheme enabling staff to be an Ally, practising inclusive behaviours.
  • 35% of staff have attended our Developing Inclusive Behaviours workshop.

We have focussed our efforts to embed inclusive practice throughout our recruitment process. We’ve expanded the media channels we use, paid attention to our language, drafting shorter, easier to read job descriptions and adverts, increasing engagement and building relationships throughout the process. We’ve changed our narrative, showcasing our students’ work and our activities demonstrating our commitment to creating a sense of belonging for everyone, where they feel they can be the best they can be. You can read some of our editorial in Fyne Times.

In February 2023 the University was successful in gaining its re-accreditation as a Disability Confident Leader. We recognise individuality, ensure support is offered according to individual needs to achieve greater fairness in outcomes and making positive actions to improve inclusion.

In January, staff participated in our first Wellbeing month that aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of staff via health MOT’s, keeping calm sessions as well as active session like Zumba, walking football and dog walks.

Our chaplaincy team have worked tirelessly to create a sense of belonging for all at UoG. They improve the student experience and support through weekly activities at our sanctuary spaces. The Students Union led on an International Students Campaign focused on improving international students’ access to their education and social university experience.

A group of 6 male students smiling while taking a selfie photo.

Belonging Month 2023 

In June to mark the end of the first year of our Strategy, we shone a light on ‘Belonging’; a key goal in our People Strategy. We highlighted some of the work undertaken to ensure our staff and students feel welcomed, respected, safe and empowered to share their cultures, heritages, and identities. We hosted a variety of interesting speakers and interactive workshops throughout the month as well as drawing attention to the plethora of resources available to enhance and support individual learning and education and inviting guests to take over the Equity blog. 

This year at the Festival of Learning we launched our Staff allyship Scheme, that encourages staff to sign up to 4 pledges. ( On doing this staff will be awarded on of our colourful Rainbo Lanyards as well as given an invitation to attend an awareness session about what an Ally is.

Our work to create a learning experience that is inclusive and accessible for all our students is supported by our Education Strategy. We continue to apply our decolonising the curriculum framework and are developing pedagogy that reflects our understanding of the individuality of our students and their capacity to contribute to their learning experience. 

Also, our annual Festival of Learning in 2023 focussed on “The Education of the Future”, with equity and belonging distinct features of presentations and discussion over the two days. The Academic Exchanges and Lightening Presentations addressed engagement, professional identity, inclusive practices, and personalised learning.

As part of the work we have done around Inclusive Governance we have looked outwardly and engaged with key external stakeholders. This has resulted in us collaborating with local artists, community organisations and public sector partners to create and exhibition commemorating 75 year so the Windrush generation and continued collaborations to plan and deliver events and activities marking Black History Month.

Looking Forward

There is still much to be done to achieve the goals laid out in our Belonging Strategy and our priorities over the coming year will be to embed inclusive behaviours and practices to support ‘Belonging’.

However we are proud to aspire to creating inclusion one action at a time.

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