Durham University has appointed Dr Shaid Mahmood as a new senior leader tasked with promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within the institution.
Mahmood, who currently leads Leeds Council’s work on equality, migration and counter-extremism, will take up the position in February 2022.
According to the University, he will be “at the heart of leading, evolving and driving forward Durham’s EDI [Equality, Diversity and Inclusion] agenda”.
The appointment comes in the wake of criticism levelled at Durham’s approach to inclusion and diversity. In 2020, Durham was ranked the second-worst university in the UK for social inclusion by The Sunday Times.
Last year, Palatinate revealed that Black applicants were half as likely to accept an offer to study at the university. A recent Palatinate investigation also found that the UK’s wealthiest students are eight times more likely to enrol.
Durham University said: “[Mahmood] will be our pan-University strategic lead for EDI, leading and accountable for our strategy for equality, diversity, inclusion, respect and behaviours; managing our EDI Unit and working closely across our Colleges, Departments, Divisions and Research Institutes, with Durham Students’ Union and other student leaders, and external stakeholders and partners.
“Top priorities will include addressing gender equality; attracting and retaining a diverse community of staff and students, including from BAME and disabled communities; and embedding a culture of respect and inclusivity across the University.”
Concerning his appointment, Mahmood stated: “The ambition of Durham University for its respect and inclusivity work is impressive and I am delighted to be asked to join the Durham University community in this new leadership role and play my part alongside staff, students and our stakeholders to help create the culture that realises those ambitions.”
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Antony Long also commented on the appointment, stating “we believe all our staff and students should have the opportunity to study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive.
“It is important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.
“Dr Mahmood’s impressive track record of leading successful initiatives across a diverse range of communities, partners and stakeholders puts him in a strong position to take our work on EDI and Respect to the next level, ensuring this is embedded at the heart of our community and its activities.”
Image: Durham University