Inclusion is one of four strategic priorities that underpin the overarching University of Warwick strategy and we have ambitious plans and aspirations to work towards removing economic, social and cultural barriers that may have previously prevented talented people from working and studying at Warwick.
We seek to create a community for staff and students, where differences of culture and identity are celebrated, where differences of opinion are welcomed and respected, and where prejudice and socially unacceptable behaviours of any kind are never tolerated.
At the heart of our approach will be a major drive to increase the diversity of our student and staff population and to remove the barriers to studying and working at Warwick, particularly, but not only, for those from lower socio-economic groups, ethnic minority communities and disabled people.
We are fully committed to our Social Inclusion agenda and our disability work is integral to this. We aim to ensure that all of our policies, processes and facilities are fully inclusive ensuring that all staff, students and visitors to campus have a positive experience whether they are working, learning, living and/or visiting campus. We want everyone who attends Warwick, staff or student, to be able to realise their full potential and will work to ensure that if reasonable adjustments are required to support individuals in their work/study, that we will work collaboratively with them to ensure that the required support is provided and reviewed appropriately.
To demonstrate our ongoing commitment, the University subscribes to the Business Disability Forum, an organisation that provides expert advice and support on all disability issues (visible and non-visible), and which has additionally developed a disability management audit to help organisations measure and improve on their performance for disabled employees, students and other stakeholders. The University is working towards meeting the Disability Standard criteria and will be submitting evidence to demonstrate how we measure against the required standards framework later in 2020. Additionally, in 2018, the University recruited an Accessibility Officer to help inform and progress the buildings and facilities work, not only to ensure compliance but to also inform on best practice.
To help deliver these expectations and progress this work, the University appointed a Disability Standard Steering Group (chaired by the Provost, Chris Ennew) (find the Disability Standard Steering Group membership and Terms of Reference here), an Executive Sponsor (Rosie Drinkwater, Group Finance Director), and a number of other Senior Disability Champions across key business areas. A Disability Taskforce (with sub-groups addressing particular projects) will also act as a driver for change and will serve as a communication channel for the wider Warwick community. The Taskforce has formal reporting responsibility into the Social Inclusion Committee, which is a joint Committee of the Senate and Council. Additionally, all of the above mentioned groups work collaboratively and in consultation with the Disabled Staff Network to inform our disability work, along with engagement with external disability organisations who are best placed to improve our understanding of issues that affect disabled people.
Our promise is that we will all work together to improve our processes/procedures and lines of communication to bring about positive changes and to provide opportunities for our disabled community to gain confidence and reach their full potential in a supportive and inclusive environment. We want everyone to be able to access Warwick’s wonderful facilities and consequently a number of teams are working hard to ensure that campus becomes fully accessible. This is work in progress – a number of our buildings are now quite old and are not as accessible as we would like them to be, but where possible we are working to rectify that and have ensured that moving forward, any new builds on campus are fully accessible as well as having gender neutral facilities.
Professor Christine Ennew OBE
You may also be interested in:
Policies - including Disability and Mental Health Policy
Staff Networks - including Disabled Staff Network
Taskforces and SIC - including Disability Taskforce
Initiatives - including our booklet 'The Most Important Things People Want You To Know About Disability & Caring'
Training, Guidance, and Resources - including Disability Awareness training, Disability Guidance for line managers, and a collection of Disability Awareness Moodles