New Dean for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion announced

Dr Ann-Marie Houghton

Dr Ann-Marie Houghton will take up this brand-new position, reinforcing the University’s commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion for all at Lancaster.

Dr Ann-Marie Houghton has, over 25 years, become an integral part of Lancaster University, having worked in a variety of roles across Academic and Professional Services. Throughout her career she has consistently championed equal rights and inclusion for all students and staff.

Temporarily bowing out of an Educational Research reading group video call, she says, “I don’t think there has been any aspect of my work so far that hasn’t related to EDI. I initially joined the university working to enable access to education. I moved on to research the many ways which people could access higher education, and once here, how inclusive teaching and learning could enable them to get the most from their learning. My teaching, from undergraduate through to doctoral study, has been closely related to my research and evaluation work undertaken with colleagues from the Researching Equity, Access and Participation (REAP) group.”

Since then, she has been involved in numerous roles, committees and working groups relating to equality, disability, inclusion, and widening participation - recently establishing the Inclusive Learning Network with Disability and Inclusion colleagues. Today, if you look up her profile on the Staff Directory, you will find that she currently holds not one but four positions: Director of REAP, Teaching Fellow, Training & Educational Development Advisor, and Course Consultant.

Reflecting on her varied career, Ann-Marie says, “I come from an academic department (Educational Research), but in my Educational Development role in HR, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Academic and Professional Services colleagues across the university to improve access to learning too.” It’s this holistic view of the university coupled with her breadth of experience which she hopes to consolidate as the new Dean for EDI – a position created in response to the recommendations of the Gender Pay Gap Task Group.

“I am extremely pleased to be offered this post because it feels to me to be a fruition of all my work so far. It’s going to allow me to draw on all the good ideas I’ve gained from people over the years, and take forward the things I feel are important - not just those that might appear to relate to me such as disability, gender, or age, but issues that connect across the entire equality agenda.

“I saw this new role as an opportunity to give back to the university and contribute to an agenda I consider important personally, institutionally and societally.”

When asked what work will come first when she takes up the new role, Ann-Marie demonstrates a considerate, collegiate approach: “We already have a highly committed EDI team, so one of the first things will be to establish my role in relation to the existing strategy of this team and its working practices. I need to identify how I will plug in to their way of working, so that we can work well together.”

So how does she feel about becoming the university’s inaugural Dean for EDI?

“I am looking forward to it. I think this will be an exciting, challenging adventure! This role will be a fruition of all my work, and a chance to explore new ideas. I will never stop learning. Speaking of which, I should get back to my reading group…”

Dr Ann-Marie Houghton will take up the role of Dean for EDI in January 2020

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