Equality Elephant in the Room 2018-19

Providing an accessible introduction to various topics, as well as a safe space in which to learn, challenge and reflect on our own practices.

The sessions are open to all staff

Are you protected against a discrimination claim?

Thursday 8 November 12.30-1.30pm, DG/121 

Introduction by Brett Wilkie, Subject Director for Sports and Exercise Sciences
Colleagues from across the University discuss their experiences of the courtroom, sharing practical hints and tips for how to protect ourselves and the University against disability discrimination claims and similar actions in the future. Please come prepared for a lively discussion!

Coffee, tea and water will be provided. Please bring your own lunch.

Full programme 2018-19

Details to be confirmed but topics include:


Decolonising the Curriculum

Gender Pay Gap


Updates will be announced via Campus Connections.

Get advice and support

Have a question or a problem? The Equality and Diversity Adviser, Educational Developers and the Disability Advice Team are here to help!

Other equality and diversity training is also available. Visit the Staff Development pages or contact them if you have specific requests.



Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Adviser

Email or Skype Marije Davidson at m.davidson@yorksj.ac.uk or pop around to HG/144.

Equality Elephant programme recognised as sector-leading!

York St John University Equality Elephant in the Room sessions were selected to feature in the HEFCE report ‘Sector Leading and Innovative Practice in Advancing Equality and Diversity’ as an example of practice that has a positive and sustainable impact on equality and diversity that could be adopted by other institutions.

Past programme: 2017-18

YSJ Learning Pathway – supporting students and academics

Thursday 30 November, 2pm - 3.30pm, HG/147
Janet Britton, Head of Disability Advice Team
One in six students at York St John University are disabled (16.9%), and inclusive learning, teaching and assessment will benefit all students, with or without a disclosed disability. This session aims to explore the YSJ context and the role of academics. Janet will introduce the YSJ learning pathway and how academics can refer students to it. Dr Liesl King (Deputy Head of School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy) will then start off the conversation by sharing her reflections on academic practice. Your contributions will inform a plan of action to support academics.

YSJ Learning Pathway Presentation (PDF, 0.1 MB)

YSJ Learning Pathway Action Points (PDF, 65.6 kB)

Inclusive Assessment and Feedback (Chaps with Cookies)

Tuesday 16 January 2018, 11.00am -12.30pm,SK/036 
Mark Dransfield and Dr David Grey, Educational Developers, Academic Development Directorate
This session aims to encourage attendees to explore a range of issues related to inclusive assessment, through the use of cookies. If you're intrigued or just plain hungry, come along to learn a little something about inclusive assessment.

Equality Elephant Inclusive Assessment and Feedback Action Points (PDF, 65.1 kB)

Inclusive Assessment at York St John

ECU Competence standards and reasonable adjustments

Students Voice

CD/003, Thursday 19 April, 9.30am - 11am

Facilitator: Dr Katy Marsh-Davies, Learning and Teaching Lead, York Business School
With Emma Sayce, SU Disability Officer, and Annie Severn, SU President Wellbeing and Diversity
How do disabled students experience education at York St John University? What works well and what could we do better? Hear from students about their experiences and recommendations and take part in a discussion.

Students' Voices Presentation by Katy Marsh-Davies (PDF, 0.3MB)

Disabled Students Survey Presentation by Students' Union

Equality Elephant Disabled Students Voices - Notes

Equality Elephant Disabled Students Voices Suggested Action Points

To be confirmed: Digital Transformation: Inclusion or Exclusion?

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and York Business School (tbc)
Disabled students and students with health issues are most likely to report difficulties accessing digital content. At the same time, technologies exist to enable equal participation by disabled and non-disabled students. In the face of cuts to note-taking and other individual support, how can lecturers use technology to prevent exclusion of disabled students? York Business School is trialling digitalisation with support from TEL. They will share their findings on accessibility, followed by a collaborative discussion about practical steps to ensure accessibility for all.

Article: access to digital content

Past programme: 2016-17

The 2016-17 main theme was 'inclusive learning, teaching and assessment', to help York St John University staff create an inclusive environment for disabled and non-disabled students. Resources are available on the ADD pages: . 

Autism in the Learning Environment

Jonathan Vincent, MA Education Subject Lead

More students with autism than before are coming to York St John, and the one thing that benefits them most is understanding amongst staff how to support them. What challenges do they face, and what can staff do to support students with autism.

Fostering Inclusive Language and Behaviour in the Classroom

Dr Liesl King and Associate Professor Helen Sauntson

A collaboration discussion about principles and approaches to fostering inclusive language and behaviour in the classroom. The session encouraged participants to think beyond words, and consider body language and visual signs.

’Closets are for clothes, not people’ – The Coming Out Experience

Dr Fiona Thompson and Matt Harper, YSJ LGBT Staff Network

Many lesbian, gay and bisexual staff can find it difficult to fully be themselves in the workplace. Not being out about their sexual orientation can have an impact on their efficiency, their ability to build relationships with colleagues and clients, their confidence and their motivation. However, the decision to come out is not always an easy one (Stonewall (2008) Peak Performance).

With Coming Out stories and an exercise what it means to be open about your sexual orientation at work; the issues and benefits to both the individual and the business. Guest speakers from Joseph Rowntree Foundation discussed their awareness raising campaign which involved them proactively hiding their true selves to see the effect it had on their productivity and relationships with colleagues.

Making judgements: exploring good practice in relation to marking the work of students with dyslexia.

Dr Catherine Samiei, Senior Lecturer, School of Education

What is the best way to approach marking the works of students with dyslexia? We aim to level the playing field for students who struggle with spelling and grammar because of their specific learning difficulty. However, for staff marking work this can raise complex questions about the interplay between language and communication, and disciplinary knowledge construction. 

The workshop set out to identify some practical guidance to support inclusive practices and to help to further develop our own approaches at York St John University.

Chaps with chocolate chip cookies

Mark Dransfield and Dr David Grey, Educational Developers, Academic Development Directorate

A fun (and filling) exploration of inclusive assessment. This session aimed to encourage attendees to explore a range of issues related to inclusive assessment, through the use of chocolate chip cookies. 

Talking about Mental Health in the Classroom

Nic Streatfield, Head of Student Services

This session aimed to develop skills and confidence to have conversations about mental health with students, understand your role in supporting individuals with mental health issues and recognise when additional help may be needed and how to access this. 

Past programme: 2015-16

Trans and non-binary identities

Differences between 'gender' and 'sex', non-binary identities and terminology, practical tips and challenges that remain.
Facilitators: Andy Law and Kit Heyam

Difficult situations in the workplace
An interactive workshop using case studies to discuss how to deal with difficult and potentially discriminatory situations involving colleagues in a fair and lawful way.
Facilitators: Amanda Finn and Jo Thompson

Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenting
We live in a society where, more often than not, becoming a parent is a matter of choice. why then, are new parents entitled to protection under law, and flexibility from employers? A conversation about creating a positive culture in the workplace for everyone, whether they are parents or not.
Facilitators: Jo Thompson and Marije Davidson

Minority within a minority: Being LGBT and BAME in 2015
A Black History Month Special
Josh Willacy, Stonewall consultant, writer and activist, shares his experiences as a gay mixed race man. How do sexual orientation, gender identity and racial identity interact and intersect?

Making Sport and Exercise Inclusive: A Disability History Month Special

YSJActive aims to be an example of best practice for community engagement and inclusive physical activity/sport, whilst being recognised as an excellent student placement provider. Using this as our ethos, we passionately believe that everyone has the right to sport and exercise.
Facilitator: Martin Bond, YSJ Active Development Officer

Fostering Inclusive Language and Behaviour in the Classroom

A short introduction from the perspective of English Literature tutors Dr Liesl King and Dr Janine Bradbury and Linguistics tutor Dr Helen Sauntson, followed by a collaborative discussion, resulting in action points. 

Mental Health: Time to Talk
The aim of Time to Talk Day is to get as many people as possible across England talking about mental health. Mental health problems are common, they affect 1 in 4 people every year, yet too often people are afraid to talk about their experiences because they fear it will affect their jobs or relationships. How can we talk about mental health and how can we support others by having conversations?
Facilitators: Hannah Morley and Liz Stanton

Diverse Faiths: Islam
Islam is the second biggest religion at York St John. A conversation with Imam Abid Salik from the York Mosque and Islamic Centre, and Rasha Ibrahim, President of the University of York Graduate Students’ Association about Islam, local provision and supporting Muslim students.

Diverse Faiths: Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism
A chance to meet our Faith Advisers, find out about faiths and discuss how York St John University can support students with diverse faiths.

 To request any of the documents in a different format, please email Marije Davidson at m.davidson@yorksj.ac.uk

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