Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2021- 2023 - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2021- 2023

Diversity and Inclusion at USC

At USC, we are informed by best practice. Ensuring diversity and inclusion is what we do on a day-to-day basis.

Through consultation with staff, students and community, we have developed definitions for diversity and inclusion at USC.

DIVERSITY describes the multifaceted identities in our USC community, such as gender, race, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic background, age, ability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

It also includes our professional and educational identity with characteristics such as learning and working styles. These aspects are interconnected and come together in a unique way for each individual, shaping personal perspectives and life experiences.

INCLUSION embraces, values and champions diversity, through creating a culture where everyone has an equitable opportunity to contribute and thrive.

Six key diversity focus areas

To achieve this, we need to prioritise where to focus our energy with targeted activities and commitment to building the capacity of our community.

While we have identified the focus areas we acknowledge as individuals, we all have multifaceted identities as demonstrated by our agreed definition of diversity. These aspects are interconnected and come together in a unique way for each individual, shaping personal perspectives and life experiences.

Initially, we will focus on six key diversity areas:

Over time, these areas may change as our learning and work environments evolve, and we need to ensure we are responsive to the changing needs of our community, and these focuses do not restrict us.

Having a focused approach will allow us to accelerate a sense of belonging and greater inclusion for historically underrepresented individuals.

Connecting the principles and USC's enabling plans

The following principles apply to the key diversity areas and inform USC’s enabling plans. The enabling plans detail specific actions and associated metrics to measure our progress. Below is a summary of the higher-level metrics from the enabling plans, which will provide benchmarking measures for the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Equity and Diversity Committee. The Committee will oversee the development of future metrics and monitor outcomes.

Metrics and enabling plans will be revised as necessary to ensure consistency with USC’s Strategic Plan and public policy changes.

2021 HEPPP Activity Plan  Access and Pathways Strategy 

Athena  SWAN Action Plan (SAGE)


Disability Access and Inclusion Plan


Gender Principles  Indigenous Employment and Career Strategy  

Student Health and Wellbeing at USC


Increase in the proportion of students from diverse backgrounds who access and participate in education at USC

Increase in number of Indigenous, Regional Rural and Remote and Low SES school students participating in widening participation activities

Increase in the attraction retention and progression of under-represented groups of staff in the university Increase in the positive outcomes in employability, research and representation across the university Equitable presentation and participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds at USC events Increase in the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members Student / staff ratio maintained with an increase in the proportion of students reporting positive feedback and quality of impact of student support services

With USC's Diversity and Inclusion Plan in place, one of the key priorities for 2021 is to finalise the Reconciliation Charter.

Moving from an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan to a Charter is a natural progression as our institution matures, and we embed our commitment within the life of USC. The Charter will enable the flexibility to develop and test new approaches to strengthen meaningful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and their communities.


Principle 1
Safe, supportive and respectful

Freedom for everyone to meet their full potential and participate in all aspects of university life with confidence

Principle 2
Accessible and equitable opportunities and experiences

Enabling pathways to foster fair and attainable outcomes for everyone.

Principle 3
Culture of belonging

Making meaningful connections through feeling valued while maintaining our authentic selves within USC’s diverse communities.

Principle 4
Individual and collective responsibility

USC is committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion are at the core of everything we do. As individuals we understand our own responsibilities in creating a culture of inclusion, as we build the collective capacity of our university and the broader communities.

Program of initiatives 

There are many initiatives in place at USC, which help staff, students and community to:

  • Understand their rights and responsibilities to create an inclusive environment free from discrimination and harassment
  • Identify and address unconscious bias practices and understand its effects
  • Understand their role and strategies for creating diverse and inclusive work and learning environments
  • Build on confidence and competency for inclusive leadership, and apply learnings in their personal and professional interactions

Across the next three years the University is committed to undertaking a number of initiatives in the spheres of increasing visibility, education and awareness and will provide regular updates via the USC website.

The Diversity and Inclusion Plan template design incorporates a circular graphic, representing our suite of interconnected plans and our commitment to a holistic approach to diversity and inclusion at USC.

Look for the design in the top banner image on any initiative linked to this plan.

Reporting and Governance

Leadership is required across all levels to implement the Plan, USC will:

  • Maintain the Vice-Chancellor and President's Equity and Diversity Committee, which brings together representatives from Executive, Senior Management, Diversity Units, the Student Representative Council, representing our diverse communities.
  • Hold leaders accountable for the delivery of diversity and inclusion outcomes
  • Embed the principles to ensure sustainability, so that the Plan is accessible and visible across the institution 
  • Systematically review policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure consistency with and reflection of the principles and compatibility with human rights
  • Identify Executive sponsors and staff /student champions to promote and support our diversity and inclusion initiatives and efforts
  • Human Resources and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) will provide annual performance reports and dashboard data to the Equity and Diversity Committee, with recommendations to inform, prioritise, further resource and enhance performance
  • Encourage individuals to engage with diversity and inclusion initiatives

All portfolios are responsible for developing and delivering their own actions in response to these overarching principles and USC’s enabling plans.

Principles and strategies on their own are not sufficient. All of us, regardless of our roles at USC, need to choose to be inclusive as part of our day-to-day practices.

Through this individual commitment, we will create an environment that allows us to be our authentic selves, where people feel free to express relevant thoughts and feelings in both learning and work environments.

More information

For more information, go to Diversity and Inclusion at USC.