Leading and celebrating diversity
University managers are expected to ‘value diversity’ – and rightly so – for there is a compelling social, moral, legal and business case.
To establish, that is, an environment based on trust and mutual respect, one in which everyone can and is encouraged to play their full part irrespective of their gender, age, background, race, disability or sexual orientation.
The performance of universities in handling equal opportunities, however, has not been a good one – as the enduring pay inequalities and under-representation within the professoriate testify. An outcome less to do with the controversy of the issues than the fact universities accorded them a fairly low priority until recently.
The purpose of this chapter is to help university managers meet this ‘equality challenge’. The chapter explains why diversity matters and the differences between it and equal opportunity. It outlines the practical steps managers can take to generate momentum towards achieving diversity, as well as the ways in which universities are responding to widening participation and social mobility, reconnecting with their local communities and reaching out to new international ones. In doing so it shows how managers can use their difference to make a significant difference in leading for diversity.