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Our mission, culture and values

As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll notice it. The warm welcome that comes with a university with a real community spirit.

A group of students walking on campus

We pride ourselves in our community here at York St John University. It’s a close-knit, inclusive place that offers a lot more than a degree certificate. With official 'Sanctuary' status, we see our role as something bigger than an education provider.

Our role in the city of York is one we take seriously. Many of our students engage directly with the wider community across so many different levels. From prison partnerships to working with disabled athletes, military rehabilitation to free creative courses for mental health service users – we fight to remove the hurdles that prevent participation.

Our passion for teaching, learning and commitment to our students is demonstrated through our 3 strategic priorities:

  • Inspiring learning
  • Impactful research
  • Enabling our students to be clear about career

Many of our academics are also activists, taking on the challenges of the modern world head on. Our community takes an active stand against climate change, prejudice and inequality and we will only ever increase our efforts. We see our students as the changemakers and influencers of tomorrow. Our mission is to ensure that the learning environment they need to make a difference is safe, exciting, inclusive and inspirational.

Equality and diversity

We value the social and cultural diversity that everyone brings to our community. We continuously strive to enrich our community by tackling inequalities, promoting fairness and challenging prejudice.

We've been endorsed for our inclusive offer scheme and are recognised nationally for making higher education accessible to those who may not feel that university is a possibility for them. We have been in the Stonewall Top 100 LGBT inclusive employers 5 times.

We have many initiatives to ensure that we attract diverse students and staff, and make everyone feel safe and part of the York St John community. Our initiatives range from dedicated support for students and staff from diverse backgrounds to actions that will advance gender equality and tackle barriers standing in the way of people with Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Find out about our approach

The University celebrates the diversity of its workforce and is actively seeking to increase that diversity further. We recently implemented positive action for BAME candidates applying for senior leadership roles, including the use of equal merit principle at shortlisting stage, in order to support the diversity of staff members at this level, which is currently underrepresented.

Please also visit our Working at York St John page for our policies to promote a positive and mutually supportive working environment.

Social mobility

In 2018, York St John University turned away from the practice of making widespread unconditional offers and developed a contextual offer scheme aimed at recognising factors that disadvantage applicants. The offer scheme, which has been recognised by The Office for Students for its radical approach, has proven to be popular with applicants and our partners in schools and colleges.

It has also been praised by the Social Mobility Pledge organisation, a coalition of businesses, NHS Trusts, Councils and universities and cross party MPs who meet Levelling Up Goals for purpose-led organisations. 

Read about our Levelling Up Report

Our green University

We are committed to managing and reducing our impact on our environment. Current projects include:

  • Improving our energy efficiency
  • Managing waste and recycling
  • Sourcing food in an ethical and sustainable way

Sustainability projects

Athena Swan Bronze Award logo Race Equality Charter Bronze Award Stonewall Diversity Champion logo Advance HE Membership 22-23 logo Teaching and Learning Accreditation logo Disability Confidence Employer logo Mindful employer logo