Diversity and inclusion strategy and policy
Our vision is for a thriving, fair and diverse University community, working together respectfully to make a difference to each other and in the world.
Diversity refers to our commitment to recognise, embrace and increase the representation of different groups and individuals at the University.
Diversity and inclusion at the University of Melbourne is about opening the intellectual enterprise to people who may be prevented from attending because of broader social inequities, by creating space, opportunities, entry points, pathways, and support for underrepresented students and staff.
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion also includes our approach to building greater diversity in successful partnerships, in our procurement and supply chain practices, and in serving the community through respectful engagement that reflects leading practice.
Inclusion refers to practices that support and embody fairness, safety and equality of opportunity to ensure the full participation and advancement of all individuals and groups.
Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2030
It sets out four goals to help achieve our vision:
- Trust and recognition – we are a trusted leader of diversity and inclusion, internally and externally
- A diverse University community – we reflect the diversity of broader society
- Culture and belonging – everyone is welcome, safe and can belong
- Diversity and inclusion is embedded in all our systems, processes and work
For each goal we’ve identified strategic priorities to drive specific outcomes over the next five years, and we will provide routine updates so you can see our progress.
Establishing an inclusive culture starts by being honest about past experiences, what’s working and where we can improve. This strategy was informed by extensive analysis of student, staff, partner and affiliate experiences at the University.
We want our community to recognise themselves in the strategy, see that it speaks to their ideas and aspirations, and commit to living its values.
Diversity and Inclusion Strategy at a glance
Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee
A dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee reports to the University Executive. It is chaired by Professor Julie Willis (Dean, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), with deputy chair Dr Julie Wells (Vice-President, Strategy and Culture), and is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and associated initiatives.
Diversity and inclusion in policy
Throughout 2020 and 2021 we completed a comprehensive review of University policies from a diversity and inclusion perspective. This included updating existing policies, and the Melbourne Policy Framework and Policy Style Guide that underpins all policies. In addition, four new policies are under development:
- Diversity and Inclusion Policy
- Disability, Accessibility and Inclusion Policy
- Gender Affirmation Policy
- A new, standalone Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy
We also developed a set of guiding principles to accompany the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy to create a safe environment where people can come forward and feel confident they will be heard, supported and treated with respect. This work is also related to our Respect campaign.
In drafting the Gender Affirmation Policy a need was recognised to provide staff charged with implementing policy on Freedom of Speech with appropriate contextual information to support decision making. Guidelines for the Appropriate Exercise of Freedom of Speech were developed in recognition of this need but also have wider constructive application given the range of issues and questions raised by Freedom of Speech Policy. Guidelines 5 and 6 closely mirror the French Model Code.
The Guidelines are management instruments and do not have the force of policy.
In late 2020, the University received the findings of the Walker Review of Australian university policies on Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. The Review classified universities’ policies according to their alignment with the French Model Code on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech and determined that the University of Melbourne’s Freedom of Speech Policy was 'partially aligned'. Amendments to the Policy were undertaken in early 2021 and approved by Council in March 2021.
Following consideration by the Department of Education, the University’s policies were deemed to be 'fully aligned' with the French Model Code.
The University’s vision for diversity and inclusion is: ‘A thriving, fair and diverse University community working together respectfully to make a difference to each other and in the world.’ There are four interconnected goals supporting this vision.
Goal 1 is Trust and Recognition – We are a trusted leader of diversity and inclusion, internally and externally. The outcomes we seek with Goal 1 are:
- We make our commitments public and measure our progress
- Our leaders are informed, accountable, transparent and ‘walk the talk’
- D&I compliant policies and procedures are consistently and transparently applied
- Unsafe, discriminatory and inappropriate behaviour is neither tolerated nor overlooked
Two strategic priorities are related to Goal 1: ‘Effective leaders’ and ‘Progress accreditation and ensure compliance.’
Goal 2 is A Diverse University Community – We reflect the diversity of broader society. The outcomes we seek with Goal 2 are:
- Leadership reflects the diversity of our local and global communities
- Entry points and pathways support diversification of our student body, workforce, and partners
- All University functions benefit from a diverse workforce
- We embrace diversity of thought, skills and experience for its contribution to excellence and innovation
Two strategic priorities are related to Goal 2: ‘Student equity and diversity’ and ‘Staff entry points and pathways.’
Goal 3 is Culture and Belonging – Everyone is welcome, safe and can belong. The outcomes we seek with Goal 3 are:
- Everyone is treated with dignity and respect
- Our communications promote a culture of inclusion and belonging
- All members of our community are welcome and safe (psychologically, culturally and physically)
- We adjust to support success for staff, students and partners of diverse backgrounds, experience and need
Two strategic priorities are related to Goal 3: ‘Address gaps (disability and anti-racism)’ and ‘Culturally safe University.’
Goal 4 is Diversity and Inclusion is Embedded - D&I is embedded in all our systems, processes and work. The outcomes we seek with Goal 4 are:
- Leaders understand and apply inclusive practices
- Staff and students have the knowledge, skills and capacity to support our D&I agenda
- A D&I lens is incorporated into all aspects of our work
- Universal access and design principles are foundational to the development of all buildings, services and technology
Two strategic priorities are related to Goal 4: ‘Fully accessible campus’ and ‘Teaching and research.’
There are also three key enablers which support the entire strategy. These are ‘Data and evidence’, ‘Accountability processes’ and ‘Communication and engagement.’