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At the University of Otago we are committed to a culture of excellence in equity and diversity that supports all staff to achieve their fullest potential.

Go to the University of Otago Equity and Diversity Strategic Framework and Action Plan (2023–2030)

A commitment to equity and diversity is inherent in all five attributes of the University of Otago Academic Leadership Framework.

Download/view the University of Otago Academic Leadership Framework (PDF)

A guide to promoting equity and diversity in the University

This guide aims to

  • give you an overview of staff equity groups and strategies you can adopt during recruitment, promotions, performance and development reviews and other employment processes.
  • provide tips on how to encourage a culture of inclusivity within your team.

The stocktaking tool for equity and diversity practices in your department

The stocktaking tool will assist with reflection on equity and diversity practices in your department.

Download/view the Equity and Diversity Stocktake document (PDF)

Recognition of Māori, Pacific and members of other equity groups

The University recognises Māori as tangata whenua and is committed to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Māori students and staff have a distinct status at the University under the provisions of the Treaty.

Download/view the Māori Strategic Framework (PDF)

The University recognises the special status of Pacific staff and students

Download/view the Pacific Strategic Framework (PDF)

The University recognises members of equity groups

The University recognises that members of equity groups are more likely than others to experience barriers to achieving their full potential and/or are more likely to be under-represented.

The University recognises the following equity groups:

  • Students and staff with disability and/or impairment
  • Students who are first in their family to attend university
  • LGBTIQ students and staff
  • Students from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • Students and staff from migrant and/or refugee backgrounds and those whose first language is not English
  • Women where there are barriers to access and/or success

Go to the Univeristy's Equity and Diversity Policy

Equity and diversity in your department

You can take the following steps to learn more about equity in your area:

  • The University of Otago Staff Equity Demographics report provides up-to-date statistics on representation of Māori and Pacific staff and staff equity groups at the University of Otago.
  • Ask the Equity Office for staff equity profile relating to your area. All data will be aggregated and no individual identified as per the Equal Employment Data Collection procedure.
  • Complete an Equity Stocktake to help you understand equity and diversity in your department. The Equity Office will be happy to discuss the stocktake tool with you.

Email the Equity office for the latest copy of the Otago Staff Equity Demographics report


Go to information about the Equal Employment Data Collection procedure

What can your department do to promote equity and diversity?


Recruitment decisions should always be based on merit. In order to achieve impartial decision-making, recruitment and selection practices should be designed to avoid bias.

The Recruitment Team will be able to help you with your selection process and we advise including them in the planning stage of the recruitment process.

Suggestions to address potential bias in the recruitment process:

  • Make sure that selection criteria and methods accurately assess candidates' suitability for the position and don't have the potential to disadvantage people based on characteristics unrelated to merit. (For example requiring several years of experience might exclude younger candidates even though they have the required skills.)
  • Make sure that selection criteria are measurable. Recruitment decisions should be evidence-based.
  • Include skills-based assessment tasks and structured interviews.
  • Make sure that all selection panel members are aware of the effects of unconscious bias in a recruitment process and of the importance of following the selection process.
    Find our more about assistance with the selection process
    Download/view the Royal Society's guide to unconscious bias in the selection process (PDF)

Increase the pool of candidates from under-represented groups (e.g. people with disabilities, from ethnic minorities, women and men where under-represented):

  • Include a statement about the University's commitment to equity and diversity and specifically invite people from under-represented groups to apply.
  • Make sure that the ad is worded in a way that encourages all qualified and suitable people to apply. Promote different aspects of the job that will appeal to a diverse range of people. (For example some people might be drawn to career progression prospects, others might be looking for flexibility, work-life balance or a supportive and accessible environment).
  • Broaden search techniques to reach all qualified applicants including applicants from under-represented equity groups. (For example, you can disseminate the information to agencies representing people with disabilities.)
  • Review your online presence (University's website, social media). Is your department presented in a way that promotes inclusivity and diversity? Does it show a diverse staff and student body?

Promotion and progression

In line with the University's commitment to support all staff to achieve their full potential, the following are suggestions for your consideration.

  • Make sure that departmental/divisional employment processes are transparent.    
    • Adopt a clear workload allocation model.
    • Set clear and unbiased criteria for resource allocation.
    • Make sure that all staff are informed of new opportunities in the department and that selection criteria to these opportunities are transparent (e.g. leadership positions, membership on committees and boards with resource allocating responsibilities, collaboration and networking opportunities).
  • Make sure that all staff are aware of professional development opportunities and are encouraged to attend. The University offers a range of professional development programmes for both academic and professional staff including the Women in Leadership Programme and Academic Promotion for Women.
  • Mentorship and sponsorship play an important role in academic career progression. Make sure that all academic staff have the opportunity to benefit from mentoring and are supported in their journey to successfully apply for promotion.
  • Be aware of unconscious bias in references, statements, appraisals and PDRs. Research shows that women and men are often described differently for the same behaviour, strengths and skills (also called the abrasiveness trap).
    Read more about the abrasiveness trap
    • Use gender neutral language - remove any gender identifiers from references and statements to lessen the impact of unconscious bias (i.e. stop using she/he and her/him).
    • Review the criteria before you write or read a reference or other evaluation.
  • Ensure that people are aware of the support available and that they are not disadvantaged if they take up that support. For example, people are supported to come back to the workforce after a long absence of leave due to sickness or caring responsibilities, they are supported with regard to their disability and flexible working arrangements are endorsed where possible.

Create a culture of inclusivity in your department and school

  • Inclusive leaders have a considerable impact on the team members' perceptions of fairness, respect, value and belonging.
  • Give all staff the opportunity to contribute ideas and to give feedback and actively seek ideas from a wide range people.
  • Make your workplace accessible to staff and visitors with disabilities.
  • Give staff the flexibility to fit work into their lives (requests for flexible working arrangements, job sharing are viewed favourably).
  • Celebrate diversity and mark occasions of importance.
  • Recognise casual racism/sexism/homophobia, micro-biases/aggressions and discourage them.
    Go to more information about casual racism
  • Go to more information about micro-biases and aggressions

Use inclusive language and signage

Go to more information about inclusive language

The University's equity and diversity strategic frameworks, policies and guidelines

Strategic frameworks



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