Work at UCL


Ash Talwar

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Manager. My role involves working with individuals, groups and departments across UCL providing advice and practical support on EDI initiatives, so I get to meet a lot of great people across campus. I coordinate and advise on the Race Equality Charter (REC); undertake desktop research, prepare reports and briefing papers for the development of equality policies and good-practice materials; analyse quantitative and qualitative data for action plans and monitoring; I review EDI literature/web sites to keep current on legislative change and good practice and I deliver EDI training, presentations and workshops. I work with my colleagues in the EDI Team and stakeholders, such as UCL’s equality networks, on planning and delivering equality events and that’s just a typical Monday...

My main focus is on UCL’s Race Equality Charter re-submission. Only nine higher education institutes were awarded this charter mark (out of 30) in the Equality Challenge Unit pilot, so it was quite an achievement. We will be renewing our bronze award in February 2019 and it is now my responsibility to coordinate the process.

How long have you been at UCL?

I’ve been at UCL since October 2011 and was originally employed as the Student Funding Manager in Student & Registry Services (SRS) and was responsible for a team of seven, managing UCL’s undergraduate, postgraduate teaching and postgraduate research scholarships, UK statutory funding, US Loans and  hardship funds. I also held the role of Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officer (DEOLO) for SRS for two years and volunteered more generally on equalities issues, joining the Self-Assessment Team for the Disability Standard and being appointed Co-Chair of the Enable@UCL network (for disabled staff and allies). I moved to the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team in January 2018. 

What working achievement or initiative at UCL (or in previous work experiences) are you most proud of? 

From my previous employment at Aston University (1999-2010), I think it would be that rare opportunity of establishing a new department from the ground up (Student Support), when I arrived I was a student advisor within Student Services, two years later I was asked to create a Welfare Services department, which later developed into Student Support with four units and 15 staff. We developed our services to a consistently top-three ranked standard, as well as delivering initiatives, which brought circa £700K to the university, which I ploughed back into supporting students. 

At UCL, I'm most proud of my part in bringing in the Amos Bursary (and continuing to work with them in my new role as an EDI Manager), alongside re-purposing the historic UCL hardship funds to create the current streamlined UCL Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) available to all students. I am also proud of the volunteering I’ve done at UCL (there are many and varied opportunities here for that) as I believe this led to my transition into the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team. 

Describe UCL in three words.

Inspiring… history-making… full of potential…

What are your future career aspirations?

I have taken a leap of faith recently (I won’t mention my age) and am now pursuing a career change (at UCL). I have moved away from 20 years in Student Service and Registry functions into the field of full-time equality work. 

My wish, concerning future career aspirations, is that I absorb as much as I can from the amazing team I have joined within the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Office. I am passionate about inclusion and this team is very skilled. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

A few years back, I became very sick and nearly died. My recovery was long and difficult but my team at UCL at that time were so supportive and I was eased back into working in a phased way, which really did take away a lot of the pressure and anxiety I was feeling about returning: it means a lot when you know people care.