Equality and diversity
We provide a friendly and welcoming environment for all of our staff and students.
Equality, diversity, and inclusion are core values and aspirations within our School which promote a culture of dignity and respect amongst all staff and students. We believe this starts with strong role models, at both University and School level.
In 2012, we formed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, which has continued to gain momentum and now includes staff, postgraduate and undergraduate representation. They meet regularly, collect annual data on students and staff, report on key issues, and provide an annual report to the School Board.
We provide assistance to students with a diverse range of needs, from Special Learning Disabilities (SpLD) and disabilities requiring additional cognitive support to physical disabilities and sight or hearing loss.
All of our lecture theatres, offices and laboratories are wheelchair accessible and we have Disability Advisers within the School to provide advice and guidance on the range of services available.
Cardiff University strives to improve the experience of our LGBT+ staff and students, and we have been continually recognised for our efforts. There is a student LGBT+ Association and a very active staff and postgraduate network called ‘Enfys’ (Welsh for ‘Rainbow’).
We are proud to be the top university (ranked 10th out of 100) out of all employers in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2020. We have also been recognised as a Stonewall Top Trans Employer as well as a Diversity Champion.
We believe that it is important to ensure that the University is accessible to all groups in the community and that opportunities are available to those which are traditionally under-represented in higher education.
We recognise the benefits in having a talented and diverse student community and we are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for everyone.
We aim to improve diversity and widen access to University by:
- Undertaking a wide range of engagement activities for schools in order to inspire young people and encourage them to continue to study physics and astronomy, and to consider it as a career.
- Recruiting a diverse community of students and we welcome applications from students of all backgrounds.
- Providing help and support to our students to enable them to succeed and to reach their full potential.
Women in physics and astronomy: Juno Champion
Addressing the current gender imbalance in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects is one of our priorities. We foster an environment where female staff and students can flourish and reach their full potential. As of 2021, 31% of our members of staff identify as female, well above the national average of 18%, and likewise our average proportion of female PhD students is 36%, well above the national average of 25%.
We are extremely proud that this commitment to women in physics has resulted in us being awarded the Institute of Physics Project Juno: Champion status. We are the first university in Wales to achieve this recognition.
As part of this process we are constantly monitoring our gender balance in many areas, ranging from undergraduate admissions through to the number of female seminar speakers with the aim of identifying any barriers to women, and tackling them as necessary.
The School supports a networking group called TWiSTEM (Trevithick Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for women working on our Trevithick campus along with women from the Schools of Engineering and Computer Science.
Dignity at work
We have a network of Dignity at Work advisers who are trained to provide advice in an informal atmosphere, to any staff members experiencing concerns. A number of our team identify themselves as providing a safe space for discussion of LGBT+ related issues by wearing rainbow lanyards.
We welcome applications for flexible working, and operate a core-working hours model where all important meetings are held between 10am and 4pm. We have a School returners scheme for study leave for those who have had a period of time off work due to caring responsibilities or ill health.
Our flexible working arrangements enable staff to achieve an appropriate work/life balance, to obtain professional development qualifications, and consider the need to care for dependents or young families.
Our university-wide research leave scheme is available to all staff and provides funding for teaching cover during periods of 6-12 months, focusing on generating high-quality publications and/or impact.
Returning from leave
We offer staff returning from periods of long-term leave additional support and flexibility to minimise the impact of extended leave on the delivery of their duties. This allows them to refresh their skills, knowledge and confidence which enables continued career development.
Our staff and students benefit from a number of different arrangements which have been developed to suit their particular circumstances.
Glesni Lloyd, HR Officer and PA to the Head of School
Glesni is currently undertaking a part-time postgraduate degree in HR Management. In order to complete her degree course she has been able to attend classes during working hours.
The School allowed her flexible working arrangements so that she could use Wednesday afternoons to attend her course and make up the time during the rest of the week.
“The School and my line manager have been supportive, enabling me to work flexibly. This has meant not having to reduce my hours while progressing with my professional development. It’s allowed me to provide the same service to the School while expanding my knowledge in my specialist area”.
Professor Stephen Fairhurst, Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science
Stephen is part of the Gravitational Astronomy Exploration Institute.
He approached the School to discuss working a four-day week in order to help bring up a young family and to achieve a better work/life balance, while still being able to carry out his University commitments in research, teaching and administration.
“The School was very supportive and there was no problem in setting up the part-time arrangement. There are not many academic staff in the School working part-time, but I find that it suits me very well and that it enables me to lead a more balanced life while still making a significant contribution to the work of the University.”
Stephen finds that he is just as productive during his working hours and the extra day away from work gives him time for his own interests, as well as time to help look after his young family. He makes the effort to keep his free day exactly that, and ensures that he doesn’t check work emails and calls when he isn’t working.
Rhiannon Lunney, PhD Student
Rhiannon suffers from a condition called fibromyalgia which, in her case, stems from a neck injury. She has established a special arrangement which allows her to undertake her PhD over five years instead of four, and by studying four days a week instead of five.
Fibromyalgia affects 2% of the population and is not uncommon, but can cause extreme fatigue, brain fog and pain, especially when sitting for long periods without proper support. Rhiannon has been provided with an ergonomic chair and is allowed to record meetings so that she can refresh her memory later. She also needs to have as much light as possible as fibromyalgia is associated with low mood and depression and so she has been allocated appropriate office space with excellent lighting. She has found staff in the School very understanding and helpful and her supervisors have readily agreed to the special arrangements she needs to do her PhD.
Rhiannon said: “I have been impressed by how accommodating people here have been. My special arrangements help me cope with my condition and the extra day’s leave helps me to rest and recuperate so that I can maintain a normal work/life balance. Otherwise I would have no energy for other everyday activities that students take part in outside their study.”