Equality outcomes

The development of the 2021-25 outcomes was informed by analysis of progress made against our 2017-21 equality outcomes, recent developments in the external environment, guidance issued by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Universities UK (UUK) and Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and consideration of sector-wide developments and analysis issued by agencies including Advance HE.

In addition, a period of engagement took place across the institution. This included consultation with student representatives, academic and professional services staff and members of our EDI community of practice, which comprises a network of Equality Leads and a number of working groups and fora.

Information on progress made against our 2017‐21 Equality Outcomes, how the University meets its public sector equality duty (PSED) and the specific duties relevant to Scotland is available in our report on Mainstreaming the Equality Duty - April 2021.

The University will publish a progress report against the new equality outcomes by 30 April 2023. We will review our equality outcomes no later than 30 April 2025.

Equality Outcomes for 2021-25

Equality Outcome 1 – Gender equality

The University will:

  • Improve the student gender balance across the institution, with particular improvement in disciplines with the highest disparities.
  • Improve representation of people identifying as women in professorial and senior leadership roles and in governance committees, so that representation better reflects the overall gender diversity of the university population.
  • Foster a culture where gender-based violence is actively challenged, robustly tackled and people experiencing gender-based violence are respected, supported and empowered.
  • Foster a culture where trans discrimination and abuse is robustly tackled, and in which trans people and those identifying as gender fluid or gender non-binary are respected, supported and empowered.
  • Continue to reduce the gender pay gap so that it is at least in line with the sector average

Equality Outcome 2 – Mental Health and Wellbeing

The University will:

  • Foster a culture and environment that respects, protects, promotes and enhances the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff, enabling them to thrive and achieve their potential whilst achieving our institutional ambitions. 
  • Ensure that students and staff are able to access skilled and appropriately qualified mental health support at the appropriate time without experiencing stigma or discrimination.

Equality Outcome 3 – Student success

        The University will:

  • Ensure that students with a protected characteristic equal the retention and continuation rates of the University average. 

  • Ensure that students with a protected characteristic equal the degree attainment results of the University average.

Equality Outcome 4 – Anti-racism, race equality and interculturalism

The University will:

  • Improve representation of people of colour in professorial and senior leadership roles and in governance committees, so that representation is more in line with the diversity of the national population
  • Foster an anti-racist culture in which racism and systemic racial inequalities are actively challenged, robustly tackled and people experiencing racial discrimination or harassment are respected, supported and empowered
  • Maintain a welcoming and inclusive culture and environment for staff and students, regardless of their cultural background, and ensure that inter culturalism is at the heart of everything we do.​ 

Equality Outcome 5 – Inclusion and accessibility

The University will:

  • Create and nurture a campus and digital environment which supports inclusion, flexibility and accessibility for all our students and staff by eliminating structural or systemic barriers to learning, teaching, research and operations
  • Ensure that effective, reasonable and proportionate support is provided to address residual barriers to success for those who are disabled, care experienced or a student carer
  • Foster a culture in which LGBTQ+ rights are protected, and people experiencing discrimination or harassment relating to sexual orientation or gender identity are respected, supported and empowered

Leadership and governance

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is everyone’s responsibility, and should be embedded into all that we do, from developing our strategic plan, to delivering learning and teaching, to designing our campus, conducting research and everything in between. To create a culture where EDI is intrinsic to all that we do, and to ensure that the university effectively discharges its responsibilities in respect of EDI, it is essential to distribute leadership, responsibility and accountability for EDI throughout the institution.

University Court, the University’s governing body, is ultimately responsible for the fulfilment of the University’s statutory equality duties. The Equality Steering Group (ESG) is the strategic advisory group that reports to University Court via the Joint Policy, Planning & Resources Committee (JPPRC). Chaired by the Senior Deputy Principal, and with both staff and student representatives within its membership, the ESG oversees compliance with the statutory equality duties and ensures effective delivery of the University’s equality outcomes and supporting strategies.

The ESG delegates responsibility for operational development and implementation activity to a number of strategy and implementation groups. At present, these include:

  • Health and Wellbeing Group (responsible for the coordination of work relating to staff and student health and wellbeing, including the development and implementation of the Mental Health Strategy)
  • Tackling Gender Based Violence Steering Group (responsible for overseeing the joint University and Students’ Union strategy on preventing and tackling gender based violence)
  • Anti-Racism and Race Equality Group (responsible for developing and implementing the Anti-Racism and Race Equality Strategy)
  • Digital Accessibility Working Group
  • Gender Action Plan Implementation Group
  • Athena Swan Institutional Self-assessment Team (which coordinates and drives the institutional gender equality work and the Athena Swan submissions, as well as identifying and sharing good practice between Faculty Self-Assessment Teams).

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum provides a forum for staff with an interest and role in furthering the EDI agenda to meet and discuss pertinent topics requiring action, and also provides a two-way communication channel between staff and the formal strategic groups leading on specific aspects of the EDI agenda.