About Us

Please contact diversity@abdn.ac.uk if you wish to know of any upcoming Equality and Diversity related events at the University.

Vision and Commitment

The University is fully committed to equality for all its staff and students. Equality and Diversity issues relating to both staff and students are the responsibility of the University Court.

The University’s vision is to strive to create an inclusive culture which celebrates the diversity of the University’s staff and students. In recognising that this diversity brings new and engaging perspectives and enriches the experience of all who work, study and visit the University we will take a proactive approach to embedding and mainstreaming the principles of Equality and Diversity by:

  • Driving the agenda at the highest strategic level and throughout the University
  • Communicating the Equality and Diversity Vision and the University’s expectations widely to all staff and students
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination
  • Sharing experiences and good practice
  • Educating staff and students on Equality and Diversity and their responsibilities
  • Engaging staff and students on Equality and Diversity matters

The Policy Zone houses documents related to Equality and Diversity.

Further information is available from the University's Equality and Diversity Adviser, Janine Chalmers or telephone +44 (0)1224 273883.

The University also has a dedicated diversity e-mail account diversity@abdn.ac.uk which you can use if you prefer.

Communication and Consultation

The University welcomes feedback on equality policies and initiatives from staff, students and visitors.

If you would like to contribute more fully to the equality agenda or simply make a comment, please do contact  the University's Equality and Diversity Adviser, Janine Chalmers  or telephone 01224 273883

The University also has a dedicated diversity e-mail account diversity@abdn.ac.uk which you can use if you prefer.

The University has a Staff Contact Group who regularly assist with policy development and oversight of Equality Impact Assessments.

The Staff Disability Network Group provides feedback on Equality Impact Assessments and discusses issues related to disability.

The University undertakes both staff and student equality and diversity questionnaires every two years.  The results help to shape equality and diversity priorities.

The University works closely with the Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) to keep informed of the equality and diversity issues raised by students.

The University has held a series of Equality Open Sessions for staff and students.  These lunchtime sessions are an opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on equality and diversity at the University.

The Equality Newsletter and the Staff News e-mails to staff provide an opportunity to share information and promote equality initiatives.

If you would like to know more, or get involved, please do let us know.

Advisory Group

he University's Advisory Group on Equality and Diversity has a remit to provide advice and assistance to the Vice Principal with responsibility for Equality and Diversity on all matters of policy development and implementation, and to assist in the promotion of a culture where equality and diversity are recognised as contributing to the strength of the University.

The Group comprises representatives from across the University.

Harrasment Adviser Network

The University Harassment Adviser Service aims to provide support to employees who feel they are experiencing bullying or harassment in the workplace.

If you feel you are being bullied or harassed at work then you may find a discussion with a Harassment Adviser to be beneficial.

You can contact any of the Harassment Advisers and request to meet with them.  The discussion will take place in a location that you are fully comfortable with.

Your Harassment Adviser will listen to your concerns and will be guided by your preferences regarding how you wish to proceed.  The Adviser may provide you with alternative sources of support which you had not previously considered.

Together you will decide what your next steps could be and your Harassment Adviser will provide information on the routes open to you.

Harassment Advisers are not trained counsellors or mediators and so their remit does not include these activities.  They will, however, be able to provide advice on the University providers of these services.

The conversations will, unless in very exceptional circumstances, be kept in the strictest confidence.

Please click here to access the list of University Harassment Advisers

Disability Network Group

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students. The University has a Disabled Staff Network Group, open to both disabled staff and those with an interest in disability issues. The group aims to provide support for disabled staff and those with an interest in disability in the workplace, to share information and consider good practice, and to provide recommendations to enhance University policy where appropriate.

The Disabled Staff Network Group meets regularly with meetings advertised via StaffNet and our internal Disabled Staff Network Group mailing list. Meetings are generally held on campus at lunchtime. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, in complete confidence, please contact Janine Chalmers.

Gender Action Plan

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students.  The Gender Action Plan is an extension of the intensive work the University has been undertaking to embed and mainstream the principles of equality and diversity across the University.

The Plan focuses on those factors within the University’s sphere of influence in order that we can work towards ensuring that gender stereotypes and other societal barriers are challenged.

The University’s Gender Action Plan can be found here: Gender Action Plan.pdf

Further information may be obtained from Janine Chalmers


Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 represents a significant change in equality legislation. The Act has harmonised and streamlined the pre-exisitng legislation. It has also strengthened it, providing more protection from discrimination to more people.

The Act has introduced the concept of 'protected characteristics'. These are the grounds on which it is unlawful to discriminate. The characteristics are:

  • Disability
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion/belief
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Pregnancy/maternity
  • Marriage/civil partnership.

There are four forms of discrimination under the Act:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation.

If you have any queries please e-mail diversity@abdn.ac.uk and you will receive a response as soon as possible.

Equality Impact Assessment

The University has a legal duty to undertake equality impact assessments. This means ensuring that our policies, practices and procedures are fair and inclusive.

The University's Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Toolkit was agreed in April 2009:

Click on the links to view impact assessments completed to date:

Approved 15 November 2010

Approved 22 March 2011

Approved 12 July 2011

LGBT Staff Network Group

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students. The University has an LGBT Staff Network Group, open to both LGBT staff and those with an interest in LGBT issues.

LGBT Staff Network Group

The LGBT Staff Network Group first met in November 2013, and is now run by a small committee:

All members of the committee are happy to be contacted to discuss the activities of the group and issues affecting LGBTQ staff. All discussions will be treated in confidence.

The Network Group meets regularly with meetings advertised via StaffNet and our internal LGBT mailing list. Some meetings are held on campus at lunchtimes, while others take place outwith working hours in other venues. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, in complete confidence, please contact i.robotham@abdn.ac.uk.

LGBT Staff contacts

Some members of the network group act as volunteer contacts who are happy to talk to both staff and students. If you would like to talk to someone from the network group, to make contact before an event or as a new member of staff or student, the volunteer contacts and their details are listed below. They would be delighted to hear from you.

Professor Bill Naphy: Divinity, History and Philosophy

Bill is originally from the States but has lived in the UK since 1989 and Aberdeen since 1996. His specialist area is Reformation history but he has interests in gender, the history of sexuality and medicine. He has been active involved in equality and diversity issues for over a decade and has written Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality which has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Serbo-Croat (the latter translation funded by the Norwegian government!) as well as general works on sex crimes, the plague/Black Death and a companion volume to a BBC series on the Reformation.

Tel: x3928, email w.g.naphy@abdn.ac.uk

Emily Nordmann: Psychology

I am originally from Northumberland and went to Edinburgh in 2004 to do my undergraduate degree in psychology. I came to Aberdeen in 2008 as a PhD student and RA in the School of Psychology and I now work as a Teaching Fellow. 

Tel: x3646, email: emily.nordmann@abdn.ac.uk

Dr David R. Smith, Lecturer, School of Education

I joined the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education in January 2013. I am a qualified secondary RMPS teacher and Director of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education. I was delighted to see the University establish an LGBT staff network, and would be happy to talk with you about it. Give me a call, or if you prefer to chat in person - I am a coffee addict.     

Tel: x4589, email: davidsmith@abdn.ac.uk

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Aberdeen submitted to the funding councils' Research Excellence Framework in November 2013.

The selection of staff for the submission was governed by the institutional Research Code of Practice, which sets out the processes and structures for selection.

 Access The Research Code of Practice.

The institutional Code of Practice was subject to equality impact assessments when it was drawn up, during the selection period and when selection was completed.

Access the final Equality Impact Assessment for the institutional submission process and the proportion of members of staff with protected characteristics under the Equalities Act 2010 in the submission.

If you have any questions about the REF or the selection process, please contact Marlis Barraclough

Senior Female Network Group

The University has made a strategic commitment to developing and supporting our diverse population of staff throughout their careers. One of Professor Neva Haites’ roles as Vice Principal with responsibility for championing equality and diversity matters across the University is to ensure that as an institution, we are identifying and addressing the issues that are central to career development for female colleagues and particularly those in, or aspiring to, senior positions.

As a result of this commitment, a Senior Female Network Group was set up in 2012 to provide a regular opportunity for senior female colleagues to network and engage with Professor Haites and others in face-to-face dialogue about matters affecting them and their colleagues. 

This group usually meets two or three times a year, over a working lunch, and has, in the past, been addressed by both internal and external speakers.  As this is a small network group, one of the responsibilities of those attending is to disseminate information discussed at the Network Group by speaking with colleagues at all levels and across all disciplines to help identify key issues and identify how to address them.

Further information may be obtained from Shirley McIntosh


The University has launched an Equality and Diversity e-training facility for all staff. The e-training is an easy way to ensure your knowledge on Equality and Diversity matters is up-to-date.  This will help to ensure that the University creates a learning and working environment which is accessible and inclusive.

Training Modules

Two modules are available.  'Diversity in the Workplace' provides basic training on the legislative framework and its practical implications. All staff are required to complete this module.

The second module, 'Diversity in Teaching and Learning', focuses on the specific issues for teaching staff. It allows colleagues to reflect on their teaching practice and provides guidance regarding developing an inclusive learning environment. Staff with teaching responsibilities should complete this module in addition to the 'Diversity in the Workplace' training.

Each module will take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete. They can be started, saved and returned to at your convenience. The modules work best on a PC. For the 'Diversity in the Workplace' module we reccomend using Internet Explorer as your web browser, and enabling flash.

Note that your username is your @abdn.ac.uk email address and the default password is password. Please change your password when you first log in.

If you are having any difficulties with registering or accessing the training modules, please contact Shona Fraser (shona.fraser@abdn.ac.uk)




Launched in November 2013, the Leadership Foundation's women-only development programme was created to help combat the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions, as evidenced in their research.

Aurora is a leadership development initiative that combines education, mentoring and on-line resources to provide learning with a more enduring impact. Aurora provides an additional opportunity for women to influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills. The core areas Aurora will address are:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector                                                                                    
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes

These are addressed through a combination of development days, self-directed learning from on-line resources, cross-institutional action learning sets and in-house mentoring.

Aurora is for women up to senior lecturer and professional services equivalent, and participants will be asked to:

  • attend each of the four development days, and the action learning set day organised by participants in their assigned groups
  • undertake self-directed learning throughout the programme, aligned with developing interests and where time allows
  • commit to working with a mentor which is provided by their institution
  • and be prepared to participate in a longitudinal study to measure the impact of Aurora over time.

    To find out more
    To find out more, please download the Aurora Brochure  or visit their programme website.

    To apply:
    Please fill in and return the Aurora Application Form to staffdevelopment@abdn.ac.uk by 5pm Wednesday 21st October 2015.   
Useful Links
Internal Links
  • Aberdeen University Student Association operates an Equality Committee. To find out more about this Committee please contact:

Vice President Welfare & Equal Opportunities
Aberdeen University Student's Association

t: 01224 272965
f: 01224 27 2977

e: welfare@abdn.ac.uk

  • To find how disabled students can be supported during their time at the University please click here
  • The University is fully committed to supporting disabled job applicants, disabled employees and employees who become disabled in the course of their employment.
  • Our legal responsibilities are important to us, however, the moral and business case for creating an inclusive work and study environment form the basis of the strategic and operational priorities.
  • Disabled applicants and employees are supported in a number of ways:
    • Guaranteed Interview Scheme
      Disabled applicants can opt into the Guaranteed Interview Scheme if they wish. The Scheme is voluntary and offers an interview to applicants who meet the "Essential Criteria"  in the Person Specification.
      For further information on the Guaranteed Interview Scheme email Janine Chalmers, Equality and Diversity Adviser or telephone 01224 273883
    • Adjustments
      The University will make reasonable adjustments to allow a disabled employee to undertake their duties. This could, for example, be a change to the employee's workstation, working hours, working methods or duties.
    • Source of Support
      Disabled employees can seek advice and support from:
      • HR Adviser
      • Equality and Diversity Adviser
      • University Safety Adviser
      • Trade Union
      • Occupational Health Service
      • University Counselling Service
External Links

You may also find these external links to equality organisations of interest:

You can find details of religious holidays and festivals from the BBC website.

Equality and Diversity

Welcome to the Equality and Diversity pages where you can find out about the University’s continued commitment to fully embedding Equality and Diversity principles across the whole University.

Equality and Diversity

Welcome to the Equality and Diversity pages where you can find out about the University’s continued commitment to fully embedding Equality and Diversity principles across the whole University.

Equality and Diversity

Welcome to the Equality and Diversity pages where you can find out about the University’s continued commitment to fully embedding Equality and Diversity principles across the whole University.