In the sports arena, awards are handed out to players judged ‘fairest and best' or ‘best and fairest'. The adjectives are interchangeable, depending on the individual club and the decade. But both adjectives are used for the one award. To be the best, in other words, you also need to be the fairest.
The University's trailblazing Ally program was recently recognised in the Diversity @ Work national awards, winning the Australia-wide Award for Employment and Inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Intersex People. The Ally program, initiated in 2002, is the fi rst of its kind within the Australian higher education sector and has now been emulated in 14 other Australian universities. It has also attracted the attention of the trade union movement and other organisations committed to advancing their workplace diversity. People work best in a setting marked by mutual respect, personal dignity and support which utilises their skills and abilities and encourages further learning.
When people find themselves in an environment which is not inclusive, where some aspect of their identity must be kept hidden in order for them to thrive or even survive, there are likely to be negative consequences for both the individual and the organisation. It was this philosophy that led us to broaden our equity agenda to include a focus on sexual and gender diversity. It was very satisfying to receive recognition that nationally, our University is considered to be among the fairest. We strive to operate within a strong values framework which emphasises excellence, innovation, integrity and equality in all facets of University life.
The University is committed to actively promoting strategies that will maximise opportunities for participation in employment and education.We recognise that we have a pivotal role to play in refl ecting and responding to the needs of a diverse society in the design of curricula, delivery of courses, student intake and staffing. Inclusivity at our University means an environment that celebrates diversity and is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. This is an environment which celebrates all our people, irrespective of race, ethnicity or religion, gender or sexual orientation, education level, socio-economic background, age, disability or family responsibility. In turn, this diversity and inclusivity irectly enhance our capacity to educate and govern in a truly participatory way, ensuring that we continue to actively contribute to the economic, social and cultural well-being of the broader community.
Editor's note: Professor Alan Robson was named in the Diversity @ Work Awards as a National Diversity and Inclusion Champion from a large group of fi nalists representing both the public and private sectors nationally. The award to Professor Robson recognised his strong personal commitment to equity and social justice demonstrated by his consistent championing of many significant and transformational changes to the University under his leadership, including his support for the Ally program.
- Alan Robson, Vice Chancellor