I became a staff governor in 2013, when I was co-opted onto the board by a tough recruitment and selection process. Aside from being a governor, I am a part-time senior lecturer at Manchester Law School and I also practice as an Employment Barrister at Kenworthy’s Chambers, Manchester.
I am delighted to serve on the nominations, governance and appointments committee and am the Equality and Diversity Champion to the Board of Governors, and take these roles extremely seriously. I regularly attend training and professional development sessions relating to matters of equality and diversity – such as Stonewell’s Workshops and training, and relay any examples of best practice to my fellow governors.
Although there has been a great deal of improvement towards equality in recent years, both within Higher Education and across the UK in general, there are still key areas where inequalities exist, and I will be working hard to ensure that Manchester Metropolitan University is tackling these issues at board level and beyond. Manchester Met is committed to ensuring that every student is made to feel valued and supported, which is why we will be specifically looking to address the attainment gap between white students and BAME students, and to investigate more ways in which we can support our growing population of transgender and non-binary staff and students.
If you are interested in becoming involved with the equality agenda at your own institution, get in touch with the person responsible for diversity and inclusion. They will almost certainly be glad of the support, and it’s a great way to focus your attention on some of the things you feel passionate about. Everyone should take joint responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion, as this is the only way to drive forward change and create a fair and equal environment for work and study.
Barry Harwood, Manchester Metropolitan University Board of Governor’s Equality and Diversity Champion and member of the Nominations and Governance Committee.