At the University of Worcester we promote a safe and secure environment for all of our staff and students, we also offer additional services to help support students from the LGBTQ+ community.
The University has an LGBTQ+ staff network that offer training to all staff, providing advice and guidance on issues and concerns. This includes the use of broader reading and teaching materials, as well as support and guidance on how to use pronouns.
In addition, the Students' Union has a number of networks to provide support to students, and the LGBTQ+ staff network engage with them on a frequent basis to help to improve the services that they offer. This includes inviting members of the student body to attend regular sessions to provide their own insight on the learning experience, and to help staff to understand and acknowledge wider viewpoints.
The LGBTQ+ staff network has also introduced a staff “Allies” programme, in which staff can sign up and declare themselves an Ally. Those staff are then provided with a rainbow-coloured lanyard to wear, as well as a digital badge for their emails to illustrate they are happy to be approached directly for support or guidance and making it easier for students to visibly identify an Ally.
Our online student systems have also been updated so that they display students' “known as” names (rather than their legal first name) as the default display for all class lists and registers. We recognise the importance of self-identification and the LGBTQ+ staff network is currently encouraging staff to request the use of pronouns at the start of the year, and to display their own pronouns in their email signatures.
Dr Jenny Hatley, Course Leader for Education Studies, has recently written an academic blog that discusses representation, inclusion and creating safety for the LGBTQ+ community in an educational environment.
In recognition of the University's work in this area, we were presented with the inaugural Times Higher Education Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion