I always try to encourage students and boost their confidence. With this in mind, I often point out that some of their lecturers might also have specific learning differences: they find this hard to believe! I thought it would benefit our students to see and hear these potential role models so I decided to create a set of video interviews that would not only give neurodivergent staff a much needed voice but would also inspire the student cohort.
I asked HR’s Equality & Diversity team to get involved and send out a university-wide call out for staff willing to take part. The response was overwhelming and the final result a set of six individual stories that celebrate neurodiversity. I often share the link with new students when I first meet them, particularly if they’re struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis or if their confidence has been knocked and they feel they don’t belong at university. I’m pleased to say what we started is now feeding into a wider consultation on disability and inclusion at Sheffield and our expertise and insight as specialist tutors of the English Language Teaching Centre is very much a part of it.
Chris Webb, University of Sheffield