Appointment of the Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


Dear candidate,

Thank you for your interest in the role of Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, a critical new senior role at the University of Leeds, created to support the delivery of our ambitious new EDI strategy.

With the launch of our new 10-year strategy, Universal Values, Global Change, this is an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to play a significant role in delivering our goals across the institution-wide EDI agenda.

The University of Leeds is one of the UK’s largest higher education institutions, with approximately 9,200 members of staff, and over 38,000 students. Our new Director of EDI will be responsible for the professional leadership of the EDI agenda, working closely with the University community including the Academic Deans of EDI, our Students’ Union and a wide range of stakeholders. The remit of the role extends across staff, students, partners and civic engagement. The role reports to the Chief People & Culture Officer and will also work closely with the University Secretary.

The successful candidate will need to be highly strategic, collaborative and compassionate. Working with the whole University community, they will be pivotal in ensuring that our EDI strategy is delivered effectively and efficiently, within a culture of inclusivity and belonging and in line with the University’s values.

I have also recorded a video message for candidates, which I hope gives you a more personal insight into the University EDI strategy – and what a move to Leeds could mean for you.

Thank you once again for your interest in the role, and I look forward to receiving your application.

Professor Simone Buitendijk

About us

The University was founded in 1904, but our origins go back to the nineteenth century with the founding of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831 and the Yorkshire College of Science in 1874.

Today, we are one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, and globally renowned for the quality of our teaching and research.

We are a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, and part of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), which comprises 23 research-intensive institutions spanning six continents.

The strength of our academic expertise, across a wide breadth of disciplines, offers a wealth of opportunities for our students and staff, and has a real cultural, economic, societal, and environmental impact around the globe.

Our new institutional strategy, ‘Universal Values, Global Change’, sets an ambitious, transformative roadmap for the next 10 years. It is a blueprint for a values-driven university, rooted in our desire to make a difference in the world – one that harnesses expertise in research and education to help shape a better future for humanity, working through collaboration to tackle inequalities, benefit society and drive change.

The University’s core values are:

  • Integrity: We are open and honest in our words and actions.
  • Inclusivity: We are a community where everyone is welcomed and belongs.
  • Compassion: We are caring and considerate in our words and actions.
  • Collaboration: We work together to achieve our goals and ambition.

Following the largest online discussion held at Leeds, our staff, postgraduate researchers and students helped co-create our core values and behaviours, which are now being adopted across the University.

Our strategy

Further information about the University and our Strategic Plan 2020-2030, can be found here:

Our strategy identifies three core areas of focus:

Culture – recognising that collaboration rather than competition is fundamental to yielding excellence in research, education and societal impact.

Community – recognising the importance of diversity, partnership and innovation in forging strong communities internally and externally.

Impact – recognising the need to develop the next generation of global citizens and to focus our research efforts on areas in which we can be truly globally leading, while harnessing the potential of digital innovation to enhance both.

Student education

At Leeds we have a clear and committed focus on meeting the needs and aspirations of our global student community.

We provide a distinctive, research-based education for high-quality students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities – equipping them with the knowledge, skills and experience to be successful and make an impact in an increasingly complex world.

Our new student education strategy builds upon our international reputation for academic excellence. We aim to deliver a world-class education with an exceptional student experience by establishing a student-focused approach, grounded in active learning and supported by ambitious digital transformation.

The Leeds Curriculum provides a rich and diverse research-based education that emphasises the development of independent, critical thinking. The curriculum also ensures that our students are exposed to global and cultural insights, a framework of ethics and responsibility, and valuable employability skills.

Our curriculum broadens through a range of elective, interdisciplinary Discovery Themes and is enhanced by our LeedsforLife programme, which focuses on co-curricular activities, including studying abroad, work placements, volunteering, enterprise and much more. This equips our students with skills and experiences that will be of value throughout their lives.

To meet the growing expectations of our courses now and in the future, we’re engaging students as partners in the design process of curriculum development. Our courses will respond to the needs of our global student community and their career aspirations, providing knowledge and expertise that is continuously aligned to the evolving job market.

We’re embedding student-centred active learning approaches into all aspects of our education, both in person and digitally. By combining theoretical study with new collaborative methods of learning, our students are encouraged to be curious, confident, and intellectually engaged as part of their experience. This inclusive approach to learning empowers our students to apply their conceptual understanding to real-world issues, and prepares them to seek solutions to complex global challenges.

Our ambitious approach to student education is supported by a digital transformation that offers exciting new ways of teaching and learning throughout the world. Building on our digital advancements in the recent year, we’re investing heavily in our infrastructure to provide a coordinated and engaged digital learning environment at the forefront of technology. Our students will benefit from leading software and hardware to support all aspects of their work, whilst encountering the industry-standard tools and technologies they’ll use throughout their working lives.

Through sector-leading partnerships with Leeds University Union and the wider student body, we offer a range of academic and enrichment opportunities to enhance our students’ experience and personal development, whilst preparing them for the life beyond university. We’re also proud of our lifelong Leeds community, which extends far beyond graduation through our active alumni network – connecting staff, students and graduates in a lifetime of learning, research and professional practice.

As we execute our new student education strategy, we will collaborate with universities regionally, nationally and internationally to tackle global problems through the development and dissemination of our innovative teaching and research.

We know our students face a world of significant challenges alongside a raft of remarkable new opportunities. That’s why our approach to education is designed to ensure our students are able to learn across the arc of their lives, engage with digital technologies, and manage change and complexity in ways that are inclusive, equitable, caring, and ultimately make a real impact on the world.


  • We have an enduring commitment to widening access and participation right across the student life cycle, from primary school to graduation, and our contextual admissions programme – Access to Leeds – is the largest in the sector, admitting over 1,200 students in the 2020/21 session.
  • The 2021 High Fliers Survey ranked Leeds in the top 5 most targeted universities by graduate recruiters.
  • Leeds University Union was the first students’ union in the UK to be awarded ‘excellent’ status under the National Union of Students’ Quality Accreditation Scheme, and is the first to retain this hard-won accolade.
  • Many of our courses have a study abroad option, and we have more than 300 partnerships with universities worldwide.


Research is at the heart of university life. We are an outstanding research university, securely placed in the UK’s top 15 and achieving significant increases in research quality, income, and impact, building on existing research strengths and our commitment to interdisciplinary working.

Excellent research takes place in every part of our campus; the breadth of subjects studied, the possibilities for interdisciplinary working and the quality and impact of our research are all contributing to the needs of the wider economy and society. We are currently developing four new ‘Futures Institutes’ that will work across disciplinary, institutional and geographical boundaries to drive change and empower us to address global challenge.

Our active involvement in the main national institutes, an outstanding track record of success in the global challenge research fund, the industrial strategy and nationally funded doctoral training centres, all result from our own investment in technology and talent and a strong University-wide commitment to interdisciplinarity. Our growth of capacity and capability has led to the development of the Leeds Institute of Data Analytics enabling us to lead on urban analytics for The Alan Turing Institute, and our investment in the Bragg Centre for Materials Research has consolidated our strong position in The Henry Royce Institute on the theme of Atoms to Devices. Beyond this, we have supported and developed particular strengths in other high profile areas including our Priestley International Centre for Climate, which brings together world-leading expertise in all the key strands of climate research; the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, which brings together researchers from across disciplines to understand the molecular basis of life; and our Cultural Institute, which supports pioneering research collaborations with creative sector partners, widens cultural engagement and participation and helps build the skills of our students.

Our efforts have led to notable successes in the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund, with more than £45 million of awards in the period 2014 to 2019, supporting 170 projects in 40 countries, we ranked third in the UK for the value of awards (and joint second for the number of awards).

We are positioned well for a future in which research funding opportunities are increasingly interdisciplinary and challenge-led, with significant successes in programmatic funding, centres for doctoral training and fellowships. However, we recognise that we need to build on our considerable progress in recent years to improve our research standing still further if we are to enhance the overall competitiveness of the University in the medium and long term.


Our research highlights include:

  • The Queen’s Anniversary Prize 2021 – the UK’s highest accolade for universities and colleges – for research into tropical weather systems and climate science.
  • A total of £174 million in new research awards in 2020/21.
  • Taking the lead for The Alan Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Henry Royce Institutes on urban analytics, high throughput drug discovery, and atoms and devices, respectively.
  • A range of flagship partnerships, including with the Met Office on atmospheric science and climate impacts and National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

Investments in people and facilities

World-leading education and research requires world leading people and facilities. In recent years we have invested substantially in both. We have made very significant investments in our people, including (i) £43 million to recruit 183 world-class academics and leaders of the future; (ii) a £9 million investment in top performing researchers; (iii) the recruitment of 100 lecturers to focus on teaching and scholarship as part of our ambitious educational change programme, Curriculum Redefined; and (iv) an £18 million investment in PhDs since 2015/16, with a further £12 million in the pipeline, bringing the total number to 3,400 by 2023/24. We also host a significant number of doctoral training centres, and a dedicated Doctoral College which creates a sense of community and shared endeavour amongst our sizeable postgraduate community. Alongside this we have invested in our systems and people to underpin and support the highly valued and essential work of our professional services and support colleagues.

Our £40 million Nexus Innovation Centre connects business with research expertise. The University has undertaken an ambitious £520 million capital investment programme to further strengthen our position as a leading UK university. Developments include the cutting-edge Bragg Centre for Material Research, a £98 million integrated site for engineering and physical sciences; and £24m for the new Laidlaw Library and £25m investment in the Edward Boyle Library, which together have increased the number of study spaces to c. 4,500 seats. Other significant investments across the University include new buildings for the National Pig Centre and a state-of-the-art environmental observatory across this large commercial farm, and the development of a new technology park to accommodate an Institute of High-Speed Rail and Systems Integration.

The University’s Residential Service operates one of the biggest accommodation portfolios in the UK, owning and leasing some 9,000 bed spaces. In recent years, the University has invested £155 million in maintaining the quality of its residences which are a key enabler for student recruitment and for the delivery of an excellent student experience.

We have continued to invest in our excellent range of sports facilities; including The Edge, Sports Park Weetwood, Bodington Playing Fields, Cromer Terrace Fitness Studios and the Gryphon Sports Centre, providing state-of-the-art facilities to the University community and members of the public.

Further details are available here:

The role

Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Job reference:

Salary: Grade 10 – Competitive based on expertise and experience
Reporting to: Chief People & Culture Officer
We will consider flexible working arrangements

Overview of the Role

The University of Leeds is fully committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. It is now central to everything we do as an institution and community, and is a vital and inseparable component of our University strategy. The role of Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) is a new senior appointment, created to support the delivery of our ambitious new EDI strategy. Reporting directly to the Chief People & Culture Officer with a dotted line to the University Secretary, you will be responsible for the professional leadership of the EDI agenda, working in partnership with our two Academic Deans of EDI and other (cognate) deans and professional services directors – see diagram below. You will also work closely with our students’ union (LUU). The remit of the role includes EDI responsibilities relating to staff, students, partners and civic engagement.

You will have significant EDI expertise and experience and will bring strategic thinking, leadership credibility and influencing skills to shape and deliver sustainable change. You will oversee the Equality & Inclusion Unit, its function and activities, including those relating to regulatory requirements and legal responsibilities.

Internally, you will be influential, engaging and empathetic, ensuring that our leaders and all members of the University community are focussed on supporting the delivery of our EDI strategic objectives. Drawing on scholarly and professional expertise, you will work with the Deans of EDI and other senior leaders to shape and deliver a range of EDI initiatives and, working collaboratively, you will share responsibility for developing a culture of inclusivity and belonging, acknowledging that all perspectives make a valuable contribution to our environment.

Externally, you will be a credible and respected EDI leader who can influence policy through engagement and collaboration at a national level, working with sector peers and third party organisations. You will also ensure that the University benefits from your awareness and understanding of current global EDI thinking.

You will be a member of the Equality & Inclusion Board and the Equality & Inclusion Delivery Board, ensuring that our key internal stakeholders are involved in, and own, the delivery of EDI action plans. You will engage with faculty and service E&I Committees, staff networks and other key groups to advance the EDI agenda.

The role of Director of EDI is critical in leading work to ensure that EDI practices and principles are embedded across our core activities of education, research and societal impact. We are also committed to diversifying our workforce and becoming more representative of the various communities we serve and work with, and we would welcome candidates who can support us in achieving this aim.

Main duties and responsibilities

As Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, your main duties will include:

  • Responsibility for professional leadership and oversight of the University’s EDI agenda, working in partnership with the Deans of EDI to develop EDI strategic objectives and with all University leaders to advance thinking and accelerate progress;
  • Working collaboratively to develop a holistic EDI programme plan that encompasses education, research, all protected characteristics and intersectional activities, and develop an approach to engage all members of our community in its delivery;
  • Responsibility for providing professional expertise to drive cultural change, embedding EDI in all of our activities and working practices to create a truly inclusive environment;
  • Leadership of the Equality & Inclusion Unit, its functions, activities, resources and budgets, and responsibility for engaging those in EDI roles in faculties, services, and other key stakeholders to ensure the alignment of activities and the effective delivery of EDI initiatives;
  • Responsibility for developing new approaches to ensure the successful implementation of key EDI projects, including activities associated with applications for Charter Marks, and leading a portfolio of EDI priority interventions that increase the diversity and inclusivity of our student cohorts and staff groups;
  • Responsibility for EDI risk management and governance assurance, ensuring that our statutory requirements and legal obligations are met, and for keeping senior leaders informed of, and advised on, EDI and sector developments;
  • Oversight of activity to improve our EDI data, to develop our approach to analytics and to develop reports, metrics and KPIs to evaluate effectiveness and progress;
  • In partnership with our Director of Leadership & Professional Practice, responsibility for reviewing and developing our EDI learning and development provision to support the delivery of our EDI strategic objectives;
  • As part of our Fairer Future for All commitments, working with HR and Student Education Service colleagues to ensure that EDI is embedded in all aspects of the staff and student lifecycle to improve diversity and enhance the staff/student experience;
  • Responsibility for engaging and collaborating with external peers and stakeholders and influencing national EDI agendas, enhancing our profile and reputation, and representing University senior leaders externally as required.

These duties provide a framework for the role and should not be regarded as a definitive list. Other reasonable duties may be required consistent with the grade of the post.



Qualifications and skills


  • A relevant post-graduate qualification or equivalent professional experience;
  • Membership of an appropriate professional body (e.g. CIPD);
  • Substantial evidence of continuing professional development.

Essential Criteria

  • Demonstrable experience as an EDI leader/practitioner, having held the role of principal subject matter expert in a large and/or complex organisational setting;
  • Experience of leading (both strategically and operationally) an EDI function within a complex, unionised environment, and an in-depth knowledge of EDI legislation and practices;
  • Substantial experience of communicating with, managing and influencing senior stakeholders, and gaining agreement via consultation with key parties and through organisational governance structures and matrix operating structures;
  • Proven ability to engage a wide community with EDI initiatives that deliver sustainable cultural change, and to build and maintain effective and productive working relationships and networks, internally and externally (including with city/regional partners);
  • Substantial experience of successfully delivering strategic change management initiatives that have demonstrable organisational impact.

Key Attributes

  • Inspirational leadership and people management skills, with the proven ability to motivate colleagues and manage performance;
  • Proven ability to adopt a flexible approach to problem solving, providing pragmatic solutions to complex issues, and responding flexibly and positively to changing priorities;
  • Significant creativity and judgement and the willingness to suggest and try new and creative approaches to problems;
  • Experience of providing and presenting EDI data analytics to enable strategy implementation (internally and externally);
  • An understanding of the complexity and diversity of the University context, including some knowledge (or the ability to quickly acquire) of the opportunities and challenges within the UK HE sector, and an ability to adapt style and approach accordingly.

Values and professional outlook

  • A commitment to creating an environment for staff and students that is inclusive, promotes equality and supports diversity;
  • A commitment to people development and to the implementation of the new University values;
  • High resiliency, emotional intelligence and political astuteness;
  • An ability to critique and challenge the status quo sensitively and constructively.

You will be able to demonstrate adherence to ethical standards and the University’s values of collaboration, compassion, inclusivity and integrity.


Terms of appointment

  • A competitive salary will be agreed with the successful candidate.
  • You will be eligible to join the Universities Superannuation Scheme. There are more details at
  • You will be entitled to 25 days paid holiday every year, plus approximately 15.5 days off for bank holidays and days when the University is closed.

You can find out more about the benefits of working at the University, flexible working and what it is like to live and work in the Leeds area on our Working at Leeds information page.

Working at Leeds

Our University 

At the University of Leeds, we are committed to providing a culture of inclusion, respect and equality of opportunity that attracts, supports, and retains the best students and staff from all backgrounds and from across the world.  Whatever role we recruit for we are always striving to increase the diversity of our community, which each individual helps enrich and cultivate.  We particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community; people who identify as LGBT+; and disabled people.  Candidates will always be selected based on merit and ability.

Information for disabled candidates

Information for disabled candidates, impairments or health conditions, including requesting alternative formats, can be found on our Accessibility information page or by getting in touch with us at

Criminal record information

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

A criminal record check is not required for this position. However, all applicants will be required to declare if they have any ‘unspent’ criminal offences, including those pending.

Any offer of appointment will be in accordance with our Criminal Records policy. You can find out more about required checks and declarations in our Criminal Records information page.

Please note: If you are not a British or Irish citizen, from 1 January 2021 you will require permission to work in the UK. This will normally be in the form of a visa but if you are an EEA/Swiss citizen and you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, this will be your status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University of Leeds. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley:

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 30 May 2022

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV
  • A covering letter (maximum of 2 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the qualifications and essential criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please complete the following online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1421.


Closing date: noon on Monday 30 May
Longlisting: Thursday 9 June
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c 13 June
Shortlisting: Tuesday 21 June
Informal conversations with the University of Leeds: Tuesday 28 June – Friday 1 July
Final Panel Interviews: Tuesday 5 July (in person, on campus)