Strategic Context

The University Equality and Diversity Committee is established following a recommendation from the Task Force on Gender Equality, to ensure appropriate internal governance structure to guarantee clear, consistent leadership and accountability for equality and diversity across the university.

This will underpin the University’s strategic aim of being a university that provides a fair, supportive and encouraging working environment with which students and staff engage responsibly:  “working together as a confident team, valuing excellence, partnership, commitment, professional development and leadership. A key priority over the coming years will be to advance an agenda of achieving gender equality in NUI Galway” (Vision 2020 – strategic plan 2015-2020, p. 38)

The Committee will set the strategic framework for equality in service provision and in employment across the University. 


To promote equality of opportunity and respect for diversity in all aspects of the University’s business. Specifically to aim to eliminate discrimination, advance equal opportunities and foster good relations by tackling prejudice and promoting understanding, thereby ensuring the University avoids the potential for discrimination on grounds of the protected equality strands.

To advise Údarás na hOllscoile, Academic Council and the University Management Team, on the implementation of all aspects of the University’s Equality and Diversity Strategy and Equal Opportunities Policy.

Terms of Reference

  1. To ensure that the University conducts its activities in accordance with statuary obligations and best practice in relation to Equality and Diversity matters.
  2. To develop, prioritise, implement and monitor the progress in delivery, of the University’s Gender Equality Action Plan, inclusive of the recommendations from the HEA national review of gender equality in Irish Higher education institutions.
  3. To prepare, update and/or instigate appropriate equality and diversity policies and guidance and to monitor the implementation of such policies, including equality impact assessments.
  4. To advise the University Management Team (UMT) on progress of the Equality and Diversity Objectives.
  5. To monitor dis-aggregated data with regard to staff and students by the protected characteristics under  the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015  (The 9 grounds are gender (man, woman, transgender person), civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of the Traveller community) and use this to advise on areas for positive action and inform university decision-making.
  6. To make recommendations to the UMT on the development of Equality and Diversity projects and practices that will benefit staff and students from the protected characteristics.
  7. To raise awareness of the importance of Equality Impact Assessments of University policies, procedures and practices with due regard to the protected characteristics.
  8. To support events and activities to raise the profile of Equality and Diversity in the University.
  9. To monitor, review and determine the impact of changes in equality legislation for the University, amending practice and policy to ensure legislative compliance.
  10. To provide advice across the University on the interpretation of the Equal Opportunities Policy and Disability Policy.
  11. To request and/or receive reports relating to equality issues from across the university.
  12. To identify areas that may require equality and /or diversity work and (potentially) establish working groups to investigate and report on the equality and diversity dimensions.
  13. To recognise, communicate and promote examples of good ‘equality of opportunity’ practice from both internal and external sources.
  14. To maintain and develop effective networking and liaison in equality and diversity issues. This applies internally to include University Committees as well as externally, sector-wide with working relationships with professional equality professionals and equality bodies such as Equality and Human Rights Commission and Equality Challenge Unit.
  15. To report regularly to the Údarás na hOllscoile, Academic Council and the University Management Team providing an update on equality progress.

Proposed Reporting and Membership

Reporting to: Údarás na hOllscoile, University Management Team

Working Groups: TBC


  • Disability Equality Working Group
  • Gender Equality and Athena Swan Working group
  • Race Equality Working Group



  • Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity


  • Executive Assistant, Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity


Registrar and Deputy President

  • An tOllamh Pól O’Dochartaigh 

Two Deans of Colleges

  • Professor Donal Leech, Dean of the College of Science
  • Professor John McHale, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law

Dean of Graduate Studies

  • Professor Lucy Byrne

Vice-President for Student Experience

  • Dr Pat Morgan

Chief Operations Officer

  • John Gill

Academic Secretary

  • Caroline Loughnane

Students' Union

  • Jimmy McGovern, President of the Students' Union
  • Megan Reilly, Vice-President for Equality, Students' Union

Vice-President for Research

  • Prof Lokesh Joshi

Dean of International Affairs

  • Professor Brian Hughes

Head of the Equal Opportunities

  • Aoife Cooke

Head of Student Services

  • John Hannon

Centre for Global Women’s Studies

  • Dr Nata Duvvury

Director of Estates

  • John Gibney

Director of Library

  • John Cox

Director of the International Office

  • Anna Cunningham

Head of School of Physics

  • Professor  Andrew Shearer

Head of the School of Medicine

  •  Carmel Malone

Head of the J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics

  • Dr Tom Acton

Director of Human Resources

  • John Gill (Acting)


The Committee will be empowered to co-opt further members with specialist knowledge, to assist as necessary, and to invite guest speakers to make presentations on specific topics.

The Committee will invite interested parties to attend meetings or those parts of meetings of relevance to them.

The Chairs of the various staff networks (Cultural Diversity, LGBT and Disability) will be invited on an annual basis to update the committee on the work of the network.

Members have equal voting rights, when relevant, but the chair has the casting vote.


To ensure that the Committee is quorate, meetings will only proceed if the Chair (or Deputy Chair) and four (4) other members of the committee are in attendance.


There will be a minimum of three meetings per year, scheduled at the beginning of the academic year. Additional or extraordinary meetings will be convened as may be deemed necessary at the discretion of the Chair.

The secretary will issue a call for agenda items. Items to be placed on the agenda must be received by the Secretary ten working days prior to the meeting.