Durham University has appointed Dr Shaid Mahmood as Durham’s first Pro-Vice Chancellor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) to lead its pan-institution equality, diversity and inclusion strategy as part of their efforts to create a more diverse, inclusive and respectful university environment. He will take on this position from February 2022.
As a part of his role, Dr Mahmood will be responsible for the university’s strategy regarding equality, diversity, inclusion, respect and behaviours as well as the management of the university’s equality and diversity unit. He will be working closely with the Durham colleges as well as academic departments, divisions, research institutes, the Students’ Union in addition to other student leaders, and external stakeholders and partners.
His top priorities are said to include addressing gender equality, attracting and retaining a diverse community of staff and students (including those from BAME and disabled communities) and “embedding a culture of respect and inclusivity across the university”.
Joe Docherty, Chair of Durham University’s supreme governing body, said of the appointment: “This new role demonstrates Durham University’s commitment to putting equality, diversity and inclusion at the centre of everything we do.
“There is still so much to achieve to ensure equality of opportunity and a deep culture of inclusivity in where all members of the Durham community can thrive. I am delighted that Dr Mahmood is joining the University and will be taking this agenda forward.”
Dr Mahmood’s appointment comes after a tough year for Durham regarding their inclusivity. In October 2020, student Lauren White compiled a report of various experiences of local and working-class students from the university, detailing horrific incidents of classism and abuse. Following this, the university published a report from the Durham Commission on Respect, Values and Behaviour, which they state “work is actively underway to address issues raised in the Report and to fulfill the recommendations made”.
The appointment of Dr Shaid Mahmood is said to be a step towards this, with his work aiming to tackle some of these issues. Speaking of his achievement, Dr Mahmood said: “The ambition of Durham University for its respect and inclusivity work is impressive and I am delighted to be asked to join the Durham University community in this new leadership role and play my part alongside staff, students and our stakeholders to help create the culture that realises those ambitions.”
(Featured image: Durham University via Flickr)