This strategy is the result of the work of the Race Equality Task Force. Through consultation with both external and internal communities the Task Force drafted an extensive set of measures across eight themes, which were then provided for consideration by the collegiate University as a whole. The consultation with external institutions helped the Task Force identify actions taken by others that had seen success and from which we can learn.
Over the last decade there has been change thanks to various race equality strategies and action plans that have been delivered. While the change is visible and measurable in some areas, such as undergraduate access, in others the progress has been slow, such as diversity of academic staff, and in yet others challenging, such as in the reporting and effective action on racial harassment. Through the work of the Task Force and the extensive engagement of colleagues and students across the collegiate University, both in setting out the areas for consideration and in prioritising them, this strategy identifies a set of interventions where we will invest to accelerate change within the Institution. This is the first phase of a long-term programme of change.
The strategic plan will be articulated through the Race Equality Charter plan submission and as such is integrated with and takes account of the parallel work of the many groups across the collegiate University considering our approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion. We are indebted to our colleagues for their continued support and efforts.
Race Equality Task Force co-chairs
At the University of Oxford we are committed to establishing a culture and environment where everyone can contribute and flourish, and differences are valued. The University is a high-profile local, national and global institution, whose voice counts. It has visibility, power, and responsibility. It prides itself on its reputation for excellence in research and education and recognises the intellectual opportunities, improved decision making and creativity that diversity brings.
A great deal of hard work has been done by many staff and students over the past decade to identify and remove racial discrimination and prejudice. Change has happened, but has not always been obvious – nor has it been sustained or systemic. Cultural transformation is a slow process and we recognise the need for a sustained commitment and investment. The strategy is based on a set of principles which reflect the importance of:
- leadership from the top;
- working together as a collegiate University rather than as a collection of separate entities;
- being aware of our day-to-day behaviours and actions – our unconscious biases, our thoughtless behaviours, the language and forms of categorisation we use, often without proper reflection – and the power imbalances they imply and support;
- recognising the multiple faces/roles of the university – as a leading global centre of research and teaching (with alumni across the world); as a leading voice in national HEI debate; as an important element of Oxford as a city and cultural entity, and a significant local employer: each face/role carries with it its own responsibilities, and represents simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity for Oxford;
- transparency, accountability and trust in the system – tightening and strengthening our audit structures.
These principles, taken together, constitute a commitment to creating a culture where all members can engage in these discussions, benefit from their delivery and share a sense of belonging.
The University is a diverse, inclusive community that stands as a model for race equality in society.
- Engage all members of the University community to address racism at the University in its culture and environment
- Tackle bullying and harassment across the University
- Increase the proportions of Black and Minority Ethnic staff in senior academic, research and professional roles
- Attract, admit and support students from all backgrounds
- Ensure teaching and wider student experience are inclusive and embed race equality
- Embed anti-racist and inclusive research practices in the University
- Close the Ethnicity Pay Gap
- Create and maintain a robust institutional framework for the leadership, governance and coordination of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Ensure University decision-making and governance structures are representative of the University community and inclusive in practice and culture
- Develop and implement a positive approach to communications and engagement on race related issues.
Measuring and Monitoring Progress
The actions from this strategic plan will form the basis of the University Race Equality Charter Plan and each action has a clear metric against which it will be monitored annually.
The University has taken an action alongside this strategy to improve its ethnicity data collection and reporting to allow effective metrics at appropriate levels of the institution. The key metrics are:
- Proportion of staff identifying as Black and Minority Ethnic in academic and professional services roles, including at senior levels
- Responses from Staff in the Staff Experience Survey and from students in relevant internal and external surveys
- Diversity in the University governance
- Ethnicity pay gap
- Career progression and recognition rates of staff
- The awarding gaps between White and Black; Asian and Other/Mixed ethnicity students
- The gaps between the proportions of White and Black; Asian and Other/Mixed ethnicity students entering postgraduate study
Delivering the Strategy
The Chief Diversity Officer of the University will coordinate the delivery of the strategy, working alongside the Registrar and Pro-Vice-Chancellors, Heads of Divisions and Conference of Colleges in the embedding of equality in University policy and practice.
Timeframe and Review
The strategy will be delivered through the Race Equality Charter plan which covers the years 2022-2027. Progress against that plan will be monitored and reported annually to Council and the University community as a whole. The plan will be reviewed in year 3 to consider if the actions are still appropriate.
The funding of this programme of change is enabled through a step-up of strategic investment in the actions, including prioritisation of existing funds and through opportunities for fundraising and attracting external funds to support our ambitions.