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Judith Rankin

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Judith Rankin

Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Judith is committed to identifying and working towards removing barriers that could prevent staff or students reaching their full potential at Newcastle University.

Supporting career development is something she’s been involved with throughout her career. As Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) she has been instrumental in working towards creating an inclusive environment for everyone.

Among the initiatives she is involved with is a returners programme that provides support for any staff member who has had to take a period of extended leave.

She sees the importance and influence staff networks can have and has been working over the past two years to support the development of staff networks including:

  • a Disability Interest Group
  • a network for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups
  • the Rainbow@Ncl, a network for those who identify as LGBT+

I believe very strongly in fairness and that everybody should have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Judith Rankin

Staff networks help to identify good practices and can support staff and students in their careers or their studies.

In addition, she is co-leading the group which is working towards gaining University of Sanctuary status for Newcastle University, indicating that the University is a welcoming place for refugees.

But Judith points out that the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda is everyone’s business. While the University has projects to support particular groups, positive benefits will impact on all University staff and students.

She says: “I believe very strongly in fairness and that everybody should have the opportunity to reach their potential. I hope that this role and what the University is doing will enable all our staff and students to do that.”

But EDI is just as important to the institution as it is to individuals. She adds: “The EDI agenda will actually have an impact on student recruitment and our research performance because we will be able to attract more diverse staff. We want potential staff and students to see people like themselves already flourishing here.”

As a mark of how seriously EDI is taken at Newcastle, she originally championed it alone but now oversees the agenda and works with a director of EDI and a project officer for each of the University’s three faculties, reporting directly to the Deputy Vice Chancellor.

She is also part of a network of people in similar roles at universities across the country who meet three times a year to spread best practice.

Perhaps a sign of the impact the EDI agenda is that the number of female professors at Newcastle University has increased every year for the past five years and it now has one of the highest numbers in the Russell Group.