Teesside University is ranked as England’s top university, and third of all educational organisations in the UK, in the Stonewall Top 100 employers’ index. Stonewall is a charity which specialises in preventing discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.
A commitment to providing equality and fairness through all its departments and academic schools to create a diverse university community is at the heart of Teesside’s mission.
The university, based in Middlesbrough in the Tees Valley area of North East England, is one of only a handful of universities to have been awarded Investors in People Gold status for its commitment to its staff community – and its wider culture of supporting the experience of more than 18,000 students. Teesside University has staff dedicated to supporting anyone with concerns or worries regarding LGBT issues, signposting staff and students to various services including its Health and Well-Being Centre, student counsellors and support groups, and its Students’ Union.
Following the ascent up the Stonewall rankings, Michael Lavery, Teesside University Executive Director and the University’s Equality & Diversity Champion for LGBT, said: “This is a significant accolade which puts us as the top university in England for LGBT inclusivity and is part of our wider Equality & Diversity commitment across the University and our communities.
“'It is reflective of the dedication, energy and hard work put in by the staff and student community to champion equality and to celebrate diversity. We have developed a supportive and representative network, working in partnership with local authorities, LGBT groups, the Students’ Union and our trade unions.”
The University also has its own LGBT focus group, led by Dr Joan Heggie who is a research fellow at the University. The group has seen an influx of new attendees in recent years with people from different parts of the University coming together and discussing all things LGBT and representing the University at PRIDE events, as well as marking other significant events and issues including LGBT History Month each February, and IDAHOT Day.
The focus group aims to ensure that nobody is left feeling as though they can’t be proud of who they are and what they stand for.
Margaret McFee, Teesside University Equality and Diversity Adviser, added: “This accolade marks out Teesside University as both an employer – and as a first-choice university for students – that is committed to equality.” For more information, head to tees.ac.uk/lgbt
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