I made a commitment in my beginning of term letter to write again later in the term about a set of initiatives that we will be taking over the next year, designed to enhance the opportunities for women to succeed in the University and, more generally, to ensure that we continue to improve the environment for work and study at Warwick.
The first of these is that I am today announcing the launch of a new Research Fellowship scheme for all Assistant, Associate and full Professors on teaching and research contracts who are returning from maternity or adoption leave. This will be put in place immediately and will give returners the option of having duties such as teaching and administration bought out for up to 12 months to allow those holding such fellowships an opportunity to focus, for that time, entirely on research. The cost of these fellowships will be met centrally, enabling the department to fund additional teaching and administration elsewhere.
The second is the announcement that Warwick’s Student Careers and Skills will this term run a Sprint programme for women undergraduates. The programme helps women consider a wide range of careers and opportunities, improve their employability, increase their self-esteem, and develop wider networks across the university and make links with sponsoring organisations. More details on that programme can be found here.
Third, I want to confirm a further step that we are taking arising from our most recent Pulse staff survey. In the 2013 survey a number of staff responding across the University said that they had been subject to bullying and harassment, with a slightly larger number of respondents saying that they had witnessed such behaviour. Most worrying of all was the fact that almost half of the people who highlighted such matters said that they did not tell others about these occurrences on the grounds that nothing would happen. We want to ensure that bullying and harassment have no place at Warwick so we are using the occasion of National Anti-bullying day on 7 November to launch a campaign to highlight the significance of the issue and, as importantly, to promote the ways in which it can be addressed or, preferably, avoided.
The ‘One Change’ campaign will coincide with the re-launch of our Dignity at Warwick policy. Through this campaign, we will ask you to name the one change to the culture of your place of work and study that would make the biggest difference to your well-being. It could be large or small. But, no matter, it will be important to you. The point is to ensure that in this place of work, study and research there is no place for behaviours that limit, whether advertently or inadvertently, the potential of individuals to succeed.
Professor Nigel Thrift
Vice-Chancellor and President