Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are at the heart of YUFE’s vision for a cross-European educational landscape. Here Karen Bush ›, from the University of Essex, who is leading YUFE’s D&I work package, explains how YUFE’s Code of Conduct puts this vision into practice.

YUFE aspires to put inclusion at the core of all its activities, but what does this mean in practice?

Requiring staff and students to engage in diversity and inclusivity training? Yes! Having academic programmes that enable students of different backgrounds to pursue truly European student-centred life-long learning? Yes! Supporting the career development of non-academic staff in addition to academic staff? Yes!

It is all these things, and more, but none of these things will work well if we, as members of the YUFE community, do not embrace the principles of diversity and inclusivity in the way we behave.

YUFE’s Code of Conduct is a tool to help us understand what embracing the principles of diversity and inclusivity in the way we behave looks like in practice. It describes the attributes that characterise a member of the YUFE community, all of which are equally important. It focuses on positive behaviours and is not a list of ‘do-nots’. It describes what someone ‘does’, not what someone ‘is’ and encourages us to help each other behave in ways that are consistent with the Code.

What is the link between our behaviours and our success? There is a wealth of academic literature on this topic and in 2016 Mullins › identified a number of interrelated variables and dimensions that influence behaviour. These include the individual, the group, the organisation and the environment.

As a young organisation, whose structures, ways of working and relationships are still developing, how each of us behave as an individual will shape how YUFE grows as an organisation. Our behaviours and responses, whether we are acting in a group or in isolation influence and impact on YUFE. If our behaviours are positive, this can lead to enhanced performance, effectiveness, and productivity. If they are negative it can lead to conflict and damage.

Of course, sometimes, despite our best intentions, things go wrong, but that’s OK. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes, acknowledge when we are wrong and apologise when we behave inappropriately. That’s how we do things in YUFE.

For more information about how YUFE will embed inclusion in all activities, see our: