Welcome to our first Essex Business School Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) newsletter. Published termly, it aims to raise awareness of EDI related issues and keep staff and students posted on current EDI developments and actions in the school. 

Our first issue features two blogs: 

In “Decolonising the EBS curriculum: A necessary (r)evolution”, Dr Pasi Ahonen (Essex Business School) discusses the need to de-colonise the EBS curriculum, acknowledging that actions need to run deeper than diversifying representation, and must also challenge historical perspectives.  Dr Ahonen shares the important work of the EBS Decolonising and Diversifying Business Education (DEBUG) Working Group in addressing some of the issues.

The second blog, by Eden Anin-Adjei and Professor Ilaria Boncori provides information about The Black Researcher’s Hub, a ground-breaking initiative supporting Black students into academic careers. 

EBS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working groups

Fostering a positive EDI environment is the responsibility of us all. At EBS we encourage staff and students alike to get involved in creating a more inclusive environment, through dialogue and group discussions and the encouragement of action on a range of EDI topics.

We welcome your involvement in the following working groups:

Decolonisation and Diversifying Business Education (DEBUG) Working Group  

Core aims of DEBUG include to deconstruct and democratise the teaching of Management at Essex Business School; to engage and enable staff and students to ‘decolonise’ their own materials, in order to support the more inclusive delivery and consumption of Higher education learning materials; to openly recognise and debate, the innate biases currently present in Management education, and how these can work to disadvantage students from racially minoritised backgrounds, and to undermine teaching and learning more widely.

Please contact Aylin Kunter - aylin.kunter@essex.ac.uk - if you are interested in joining DEBUG and to find out more.

Anti-racism Working Group (ARWG)  

The purpose of ARWG is to work with and support the EBS Senior Management Team (SMT) to tackle and eradicate racism across all aspects of academic, network and outreach provision, and improve representation, development and voice of BAME staff and students in all EBS activities.

Please contact Jacob Agyemang - jagyem@essex.ac.uk - if you are interested in joining ARWG to develop this work and to find out more 

Athena Swan Implementation Working Group

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in Higher education and research. Since 2015 the charter has expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. EBS received an Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2019 and continues to work on the promotion of gender equality and to identify and address challenges particular to the department and discipline. For example, addressing the gender balance in UG finance courses and reviewing and raising awareness of parental leave arrangements.

If you are interested in getting involved in this working group, and implementation of our Athena Swan Bronze renewal action plan and accreditation process (and in due course our Athena Swan Silver action plan), please contact Maria Hudson - mhudson@essex.ac.uk.  

Women’s Working Group

Following a proposal from Dr Anna Sarkisyan, in September 2023 we had a meeting to discuss the formation of an EBS Women’s Working Group. The (still evolving) aims of the group would be 

  • to raise awareness around gender inequalities, 
  • provide a safe space for women to share their experiences, 
  • engage with caring responsibilities and workplace experience of menopause,
  • build more links with our alumni.

The discussion was wide-ranging and included: the value of mentoring and some of the challenges that it can pose; LGBTQ inclusion; and the need to be inclusive of men. Many thanks to all those who were able to attend and share their thoughts and ideas.  

This group will get active in the new year and will in due course have subgroups (one of which will be the Athena Swan Implementation Working Group). The Women’s Working Group has three co-chairs who you can contact if you are interested in getting involved:

Anna Sarkisyan - asark@essex.ac.uk

Teresa Alvarez - talvarez@essex.ac.uk

Christina Ferreira - christina.ferreira@essex.ac.uk

Forthcoming newsletters will provide updates on some of the activities of our working groups. 

Equality Café

EBS Equality Cafe meetings were introduced in the Autumn Term of 2022.  They provide an opportunity for consciousness raising and discussion around equality issues at EBS. These meetings will often focus on topics relevant to our working groups, for example relating to decolonising the curriculum, anti-racism and gender equality. 

The meetings last for one hour and take place online to make it easier for EBS students and staff on both our Southend and Colchester campuses to participate. Details of the Autumn Term 2023 Equality Café meeting are provided later in this newsletter. We hope that you will join us for what promises to be an insightful talk and lively discussion.

Upcoming events

EBS Equality Café meeting, Wednesday 6th December, 11am – 12pm

At this Equality Café meeting May Thet Nwe will give a talk on ‘A Decolonizing Approach in Leadership Literature: Exploring the Meaning of Leadership in a Non-Western Nation’. This will be followed by discussion which will be chaired by Pasi Ahonen, a member of the EBS Decolonising and Diversifying Business Education (DEBUG) Working Group.

EBS Women’s Working Group International Women’s Day event, Friday 8th March, 12pm – 2pm. 

This event will involve a panel discussion on the topic ‘Making Mentoring Work for Women’.

Get in touch

If you have an idea for a new working group, or indeed an Equality Café meeting topic, please do get in touch with me at mhudson@essex.ac.uk. If there is anything EDI related that you would like to discuss with me, including in confidence, we can arrange a zoom or phone call or in-person meeting.

I look forward to working with all EBS students and staff over the coming months and years. 

Maria Hudson, Essex Business School EDI Co-ordinator