At The Open University our mission is to be open to people, places, methods, and ideas, and this means that a commitment to equality is embedded in everything that we do.
Our central Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team works to build a university that ensures equality of opportunity for staff and students, which is actively Anti-Discrimination, where diversity is celebrated, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. These activities and values are reflected in our local office. The university developed the Institutional Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Plan 2022-2027 to define the strategic direction for our EDI mission.
The university achieved an Athena Swan Bronze award, indicating our commitment to removing the barriers which impact all genders in their achievement and progression within Higher Education and employment. To prepare for attaining a Silver award we are undertaking an ambitious four-year action plan, making changes across policy, practice and culture.
Locally, Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires us to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and good relations across a range of characteristics. We uphold our statutory duties by the completion of our annual report and Monitoring Return which is submitted to the Equality Commission.
Our office is committed to fair employment practices and recently implemented anonymous recruitment campaigns for new roles. We regularly review and update our recruitment processes and report our findings among senior staff.
Staff are encouraged to participate in and complete continued professional development regarding our EDI goals. Most recently, we began to roll-out JAM Card training to all front-line staff alongside our regular mandatory training.
We have a network of informal and formal partnerships with many community groups and organisations in Northern Ireland. We welcome enquiries from any person or organisation wishing to be added to this list.
The Open University is a member of the Race Equality Charter process run by Advance HE and progressing its application for a Bronze Award. The REC helps HE institutions to identify and self-reflect on barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students. We encourage our staff and students to complete the OU “Union Black: Britain’s Black Culture and steps to anti-racism course”, which was developed with Santander Universities as part of a UK wide initiative to tackle racial harassment in Higher Education. We host a range of seminars and courses during Black History Month. We are committed to ensuring that we promote an environment which is anti-racist and you can read our statement outlining our position on Anti-Racism.
Alongside our legislative duties, the university has a range of staff networks for colleagues to gather (in)formally. These include; BME Staff Network, Care and Caring Network, Enabling Staff, Proud (LGBT+), Trans and Non-Binary Staff Network, Neurodiversity, and Women@OU.