Embracing change: nurturing equity, diversity, inclusivity and respect within the postgraduate community
Equity, diversity, inclusivity and respect (EDIR) are essential to the development of a welcoming, educational environment where all students can flourish. However, at the doctoral level there is a significant lack of formal EDIR training, which members of the postgraduate researcher (PGR) community find problematic. Inclusion of EDIR training at this level would be highly beneficial to the institution, students, staff and non-academic partners. Firstly, to train PGRs in the value and importance of EDIR would align with LJMU’s new vision and values. Student experience could be improved through the embracing and respecting of diversity and through the increased visibility and representation of under-represented and marginalised groups. Moreover, the introduction of EDIR training would contribute to research excellence with the view that current doctoral students are future academics and leaders. Therefore, instilling the importance of EDIR early in the academic journey will help in the development of responsible, global citizens. This is essential as it prepares our community to address societal problems, which is integral to achieving social sustainability. Demonstrably, EDIR should not be an afterthought. Instead, EDIR should be firmly embedded within the institutional culture to enable a non-judgemental platform for dialogue: a dialogue that involves individuals and communities in the decisions that impact them. Thus, work needs to be done to encourage societal change through advocating autonomy and enabling students to become active agents of change. To achieve this aim, a cross-faculty collaborative of students approached the doctoral academy with the ambition to improve EDIR practices. This has led to the co-creation of a new EDIR PGR workshop, which is in the preliminary stages of development. It is hoped that this workshop will be the beginning of a novel and exciting initiative that uses student voices to embrace change and shape our futures.
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