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Vice Deans of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

A number of Vice-Deans of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion have recently been appointed in faculties across UCL.

Professor Jennifer Hudson

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Social and Historical Sciences

I joined the UCL Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy in 2003. It has grown significantly over the years, but I remain proud of its commitment to inclusion in all aspects of departmental life. As Head of Department (2018-21), I set up the Department’s first EDI committee with a strong commitment to raising, and acting on, EDI issues. I’ve been particularly interested in promoting a working environment that enables women in our discipline to address structural challenges. As a first generation university student and academic, I am looking forward to working with the Vice-Deans across UCL to ensure that best practice is shared widely across the institution, and UCL is a leading institution on EDI issues.


Professor Alexandra Olaya-Castro 
Head shot of Alexandra Olaya-Castro

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Maths and Physical Sciences

UCL has been my professional home since 2008, when I first joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy as an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow. At the time, this was the physics department with the highest percentage of women academics in comparison to other universities in London; a fact that weighed strongly in my decision to come to UCL.  

I love the diversity of colleagues and students I have found at UCL. Throughout my experiences here, however, I have understood we need to raise to the challenge of making UCL, and in particular the MAPS Faculty, not just more diverse but above all, inclusive. Bolder measures to confront our biases against gender and ethnicity are needed, if we are to retain and attract the diverse talent that makes UCL to thrive and excel. My commitment as a MAPS Vice-Dean (EDI) is to facilitate the conversations and actions that will help the departments and institutes across the faculty to strengthen their ongoing efforts to address this challenge.

I hope that, by sharing and mutual learning of experiences across UCL, we will develop the best EDI practices that will transform our academic environments in more welcoming and sustainable intellectual and working spaces.


Dr Prince Saprai 
Head shot of Prince Saprai

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Laws

I am an Associate Professor and Vice Dean for EDI in the Faculty of Laws. I have been involved in race equality initiatives at UCL since 2012. In that time I have seen the race equality agenda at UCL grow from being a largely fringe and neglected issue to one that is now a core policy concern. These changes have been hard fought for and I’m now keen to make sure that the strategies and policies that have been adopted centrally by UCL are actually implemented on the ground in the Faculties. There are deep and ingrained injustices that adversely affect underrepresented groups at UCL including women, ethnic minorities and our LGBTQ+ colleagues and students. These relate to student attainment, staff recruitment and progression and pay inequality. There is no place for these injustices in a modern university and especially not at UCL with its proud liberal and egalitarian tradition. I feel privileged to have the opportunity in this important new role to contribute to breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of achieving a true academic community which promotes a culture of fairness, respect and equal concern for all at UCL which is essential for promoting the true end of any great university: the pursuit of academic excellence. 


Nephtali Marina-Gonzalez
Dr Nephtali Marina-Gonzalez

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Medical Sciences

I am a cardiovascular neuroscientist and Associate Professor of Teaching in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. As Academic Lead in the integrated Medical Sciences programmes, I put special emphasis on promoting an inclusive academic environment where students feel supported and valued and I also provide guidance on a range of practical teaching approaches to support course teams in fostering belonging and creating a more inclusive curriculum to enhance the student learning experience. I am also a passionate and experienced mentor who enjoys empowering colleagues and students to achieve their goals.

I am delighted to proactively embrace and promote the race equality agenda in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and I’m looking forward to working with such a talented and dedicated team of EDI colleagues in UCL.


Dr Suzy Buckley 
Head shot of Suzy Buckley

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Population Health Sciences

I joined UCL in 2006 and have been an academic at the Institute for Women’s Health since 2013. UCL’s reputation in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is commendable, having been the first University in England to admit women on equal terms to men. However, there is still much to be done.

As Vice Dean (EDI) for FPHS I am fortunate to have the support of colleagues equally passionate in supporting UCL’s EDI agenda. Enabling all UCL staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance is of paramount importance. I am a single parent by choice, so I understand know how hard it is to manage an academic career with a hectic home life. Supporting flexible and inclusive working practises can facilitate staff to make tangible improvements to their working lives.

One immediate priority is to ensure that all staff receive consistent and high-quality appraisals. A truly constructive appraisal can help tackle many issues including career support and access to promotion, equity in mentoring and training opportunities and improving communication between staff and their line managers.


Head shot of Vanessa Diaz
Professor Vanessa Diaz

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Engineering Sciences

I am a Professor of Healthcare Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and have been at UCL since 2007.  I'm passionate about making STEMM and Engineering in particular, more balanced and diverse, more equitable and inclusive. I have worked relentlessly over the years to make research careers better at the EU level and to improve working conditions for early career researchers. I have also worked in the UK with the Women's Engineering Society to inspire women to study Engineering. I am immensely proud of being part of UCL, but I also know well some of the many problems we face and I am convinced we can do better. As an Institution, I believe we must show courageous, committed, passionate and compassionate leadership, especially in the current times where so many early career researchers struggle and the Academic environment is tougher than it has ever been, very especially for minorities and underrepresented groups. I am looking forward to working with all the other Vice-Deans and colleagues across UCL in making UCL a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place.


Dr. Sara Shafiei

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
The Bartlett

am an Associate Professor (teaching) at the School of Architecture, and delighted to have been appointed in this role of Vice Dean (EDI). I have been at UCL since 2011, and throughout this time I have taken on various teaching and enabling roles within the faculty and externally, and have understood first-hand the challenges facing our student and staff body.

I am deeply aware of the scale of the challenge before us. I am truly motivated to build on the hard work of so many to collectively influence organizational and cultural changes that are bold, brave, ambitious and most importantly sustainable to benefit current and future generations.

I look forward to working alongside the Vice-Deans EDI and colleagues across the faculty to learn and share experiences that allow us to implement changes that are directly applicable to each and every one of us.


Head shot of Helen Neveu Kringelbach
Dr. Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Arts & Humanities

I am an Associate Professor in African Studies at SELCS/CMII. I joined UCL in 2015, and for the past 4 years I have taught on, and in 2018-19 convened CMII’s MA programme in African Studies. As a black woman of mixed heritage, raised by a single mother, an anthropologist by training and the first in my family to have a graduate degree, issues of equality, diversity and inclusion have always been central to both my personal and professional concerns.

From the first day at UCL, I have loved its progressive ethos, its diversity and inclusive culture. Like many universities however, in some areas UCL reflects the same structural inequalities that continue to plague the wider society. Given its long-standing commitment to egalitarian values, UCL has the potential to be a leading force on the path towards more inclusive universities in the UK. The Arts and Humanities subjects face particular challenges in attracting a more diverse student and staff population, and I am keen to work across departments and with EDI teams in other faculties to help address some of these challenges.

One of my priorities will be to make sure that all factors of inequality are given equal attention, and to help promote a wider interest in EDI issues. EDI is not just ‘for’ the categories concerned; it should be integral to everything we do on a daily basis.


Professor Robertus A.M. de Bruin
Robe De Bruin Headshot

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Life Sciences

I am a father of four and a Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology (LMCB). Since I joined University College London (UCL) in 2009 I have been active in efforts to promote Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at different levels. Firstly, as a co-chair of the MRC LMCB EDI committee, secondly as a member and co-chair of the UCL 50:50 committee and also as a member of the Faculty of Life Sciences EDI committee.

The most important thing I learned promoting EDI is that addressing the wide range of issues that contribute to inequality requires a cultural change. Driving a cultural change needs a long-term structured and practical approach, which we have implemented at the LMCB. The recent renewal of our Athena SWAN Gold award is a recognition of this for promoting gender equality. Importantly, a similar approach can be used to drive cultural change to address any inequality and therefore promote equality, diversity and inclusion. My vision for the Vice-Dean (EDI) Faculty of Life Sciences (FLS) role builds on the same belief: a long-term structured and practical approach is necessary for bringing about cultural and systemic changes.

I believe that there is real momentum to ensure we will achieve significant gains toward EDI in the near future, which will benefit current and future generations and am determined for UCL and the FLS to lead on these efforts. Our aim is to assemble those at the FLS that are willing to lead on actions promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion and to increase the visibility of our efforts within the faculty to share good practice and drive a cultural change.


head shot Anna Cox
Anna Cox

Vice Dean (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)
Brain Sciences

I joined UCL in 2004 as a Lecturer and am now a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the UCL Interaction Centre.

I have been involved in advancing gender equality through engagement with the Athena SWAN framework since 2013. I led the Athena SWAN self-assessment team for the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences to achieve a Silver renewal on two occasions (2013 & 2017). I was Athena SWAN lead for Faculty of Brain Sciences and member of the UCL 50:50 group (2017-2019). I co-founded the Athena SWAN Psychology National Forum – a national network for British Psychology departments who are engaged with the Athena Swan Charter and committed to advancing the careers of women.