Professor Sarah Sharples to be new Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


July 23rd, 2018

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West has confirmed that Professor Sarah Sharples will become the University’s first Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion — taking up the role from 1 September 2018.

Professor Sharples is currently Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Engineering, which has 800 staff across six departments with more than 4,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

As PVC EDI, Professor Sharples will hold a University Executive Board position with responsibility for driving equality, diversity and inclusion policy and initiatives across the University to tackle the challenges we face, for example, in the gender pay gap for our staff or the attainment gap for our black and minority ethnic students.

The appointment is the first of two initiatives to be delivered from the Vice-Chancellor’s June ‘staff covenant’ blog today, alongside an invitation to staff to nominate themselves to join University Committees so that leadership is more distributed and benefits from a greater variety of the expertise, ideas and views from across our community.

Professor West said: “Equality, diversity and inclusion is of crucial importance to our people, our culture and our success as a University. I am delighted that we have secured Professor Sharples in this role and as part of our executive leadership team.

“Sarah brings extensive academic, people and leadership experience not least through her APVC role, and recently led the extensive work to review and reform the organisational effectiveness of student support – demonstrating just how powerful and creative diverse groups can be in solving our institutional challenges.”

Professor Sharples said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take on this vital role in supporting students and staff across the University. I will aim to build on the excellent work led by the Associate PVC for Equality Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Marion Walker, who has done an outstanding job in supporting diverse groups of staff from across the University.

“My first priorities will be to build and communicate an integrated understanding of the vast range of EDI activities which are already taking place across the University, ensure that we work well with our staff and student networks and develop a strategy to ensure that all are helped to do their very best in supporting an inclusive culture.”

A Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors Specialist and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, as Professor of Human Factors in the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, Professor Sharples’ research spans areas including transport, healthcare and manufacturing. She has particular expertise in design and evaluation of technologies and systems for effective use, and was President of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors from 2015-2016. She was elected as a member of the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in early 2018.

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