The Dr Hilla Limann Technical University (DHLTU) has established a Gender and Diversity Centre to create a safe space for all in the university community.
The centre’s establishment is to help correct discrepancies in academia regarding issues of diversity, equity,
gender, and inclusion.
It would also guide and assist the University in bridging various diversity gags, which span from equitable representation of women at the student, academic, and professional staff levels to the low research output of female faculty, from understanding of gender, identity, equity, and equality among members of the University community to sexual harassment experienced by both staff and students.
The centre, would as well, address the inadequate support for women trying to combine their secular and professional lives, to the inappropriate and non-inclusivity of language in curricula.
Professor Elais K. N. Sowley, Vice Chancellor of the DHLTU in his inaugural speech, said the University had long recognised that to pursue its mission of teaching, learning and research, it must reflect the diversity of the people it was serving.
He said promoting diversity and inclusion was a top strategic priority for the University as it had seen the importance of equality and inclusion and had been committed to seeing real and sustainable progress in the University.
The Vice Chancellor said the University would set achievable targets in respect of increasing the representation of women on its boards, enrolment of female students on the Sciences, Technology, English, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes and creating a disability friendly environment to improve diversity in its recruitment and development.
“I am exceptionally excited about this initiative as it aligns with my vision and that of the government to increase access to girls and women in STEM, promote equitable representation of women at the student, academic, and professional staff levels; to encourage gender balance research output and to prevent any sexual harassment experienced by both staff and students,” he said.
Professor Sowley noted that although accountability for progress was held by the University Council, as a Vice Chancellor he wholly supported the Gender and Diversity Director to raise awareness and keep the spotlight on its work to advance gender and diversity issues to create a safe space for all.
He announced that the University had taken a staff for training in gender and diversity issues last year and promised that more staff would be trained this year to support the success of the Centre to serve as springboard to the realisation of the vision of creating a “safe space” in the University and encouraged individuals and the University to support “this worthy course.”
Professor Hamidatu S. Darimani, Director of the Centre emphasised that the Centre would serve as the first strategy to help strengthen diverse and inclusive cultures, bringing together work on diversity, community, and well-being.
She said the vision for the Centre was to promote an equal and equitable, diverse, and inclusive University environment and its mission was also to create a conducive, inclusive environment in the University and beyond the campus, through advocacy, policy making, curriculum development, and support and service provision.
Professor Darimani said the Centre would provide leadership on diversity issues within the University Community, be an advocate internally and externally to the University Community on diversity issues, manage the collection and dissemination of information about diversity issues, and partner with external development agencies and others to maximise the understanding of diversity issues.