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Diversity Development and Inclusion

Edith Cowan University is committed to promoting an inclusive and supportive workplace culture where staff and students feel comfortable and safe to bring their whole selves to the work and study environment.  The Diversity Development Framework is a multi-modal, multi-layered framework that facilitates an equitable approach to staff development in all areas of diversity.

Foundation offerings cover concepts such as: the state and federal government requirements around equal employment opportunities; bias (conscious and unconscious); the dominant paradigm in Western Culture; and key areas of diversity: race, ethnicity and cultural heritage; gender; age; disability; religion; sexual orientation, and gender identity or intersex status.

Subsequent sessions are focussed in six identified areas of diversity representative of the staff and student cohort at ECU. Sessions offered in each pillar are scaffolded to establish awareness, increase knowledge and develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills when working with both staff and students. Each of these sessions will build on the foundation understanding and is supported by University wide initiatives and community events.

This proactive approach will put ECU on the leading edge of diversity awareness and inclusion.  This model has the potential to increase the reputation of ECU as well as enhance organisational reputation; and maintain a competitive advantage.

In 2017 ECU joined the Diversity Council Australia, the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  All staff are welcome to access the myriad of resources available by going here: and creating a log in

Offerings in each pillar are scaffolded to provide a growing understanding and increase in depth.

Three levels have been identified as: Awareness; Knowledge; and Skills.


Awareness level sessions in each pillar offer an introduction into that area of diversity; the challenges faced by this group, the common stereotypes and misconceptions, the terminology and language associated with this group. These sessions are designed as a safe space for staff to explore an area that may be new to them as well as discuss questions.

Awareness level offerings provide an opportunity to:

  • Define one’s identity in relation to cultural and social differences
  • Examine how personal beliefs and behaviours affect students, colleagues, and interpersonal interactions in a multicultural environment.


Knowledge level sessions offer a more in depth look into each diversity area and provide staff with the opportunity to:

  • Address issues and concerns about diversity in the immediate work environment
  • Understand the impact of power and privilege on self and society
  • Identify systematic barriers to equality and inclusiveness
  • Understand the history of each group
  • Understand the challenges faced by individuals in each group and how these may be present in the workplace.


Skills based sessions require staff to examine how they work with a diverse cohort of colleagues and students.  Skills level sessions provide staff with the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills to allow effective functioning in diverse groups
  • Examine how to convert knowledge and information into usable skills and new behaviours when managing diversity
  • lead by example in fostering a culture where discrimination is unacceptable and not tolerated
  • incorporate workplace diversity principles into their team and management practices, for example, by consulting with, seeking a range of views from, and encouraging all team members to contribute positively to team outcomes; and
  • act promptly and sensitively to address behaviour that is inconsistent with diversity principles, ECU’s Code of Conduct or other policies

Offerings at this level give staff the opportunity to:

  • Explore the significance of their background, culture, and unique experiences in defining their identity and expectations.
  • Examine their attitudes, experiences, and decision-making processes as they relate to diversity.

The EEO online modules, provide staff with a grounding around the legal aspects of diversity and discrimination with a focus on the university context. The interactive face to face Managing Unconscious Bias workshop provides participants with the opportunity to self-assess their own unconscious bias and consider where and how to reduce the negative impact of unconscious bias.

More resources and information

In 2015 over 27,000 students were enrolled at ECU and the University employed almost 1,700 staff.  6.0% of ECU students and 2.1% of ECU staff identified as having a disability. ECU has a Disability, Accessibility and Inclusion plan that articulates a number of strategies that guides the University’s disability access and inclusion activities. More information can be found here:

The Australian Human Rights Commission couples Mental Health with Disability and encourages Australian employers to be educated on Mental Illness and to eliminate discrimination. The Black Dog Institute provides statistics in relation to the prevalence of Mental Illness in Australia. They reported in 2015 that one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. Further to this, they detailed that, of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. For more information on these statistics, please visit The Black Dog Institute’s Facts and Figures here:

The ECU Health and Wellness program also contains sessions specifically tailored to enhance resilience, relaxation and overall mental well-being. More information about the health and wellness program can be found here:

ECU has a multigenerational population of staff and students.  Research shows that diverse teams can access a deeper and wider knowledge bank, leveraging this to generate new ideas, products and creative solutions, and ECU is committed to ensuring all staff, be they baby boomers, gen X or Y or millennials, have the opportunity to contribute. As a newly identified area of diversity, the Organisation Development team in HR is beginning the foundation for staff development sessions in this area.

ECU is proud to be a member of Pride in Diversity, the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion. Pride in Diversity offer a large range of resources on LGBTI awareness, issues and inclusion.  Staff can access the resources through this site: Username: Edith Cowan University  Password: SvEyU6Ie

Since 2008, ECU has had an ALLY network that aims to create a more diverse and inclusive culture by promoting greater awareness of and support for, LGBTI staff and students. ALLIES are not identified as being heterosexual or GLBTI but are representative of the entire ECU community. For more information contact Rebekah Aspinall in the Organisation Development Team

ECU has been working for many years to ensure Gender equity in all areas of the University. The Athena SWAN initiative was launched in 2015 and is making great strides for gender equity, not only in the STEMM areas, but across ECU. More information about the initiative and opportunities available as part of it can be found here:

The ECU Health and Wellness program also contains sessions specifically tailored for male and female health in the Men’s Business and Women’s Business programs. More information about the health and wellness program can be found here:

Australia has been multi-faith for more than 50,000 years, given the diversity of beliefs and practices among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics and many other religious groups  have been arriving in Australia since colonisation in 1788. In recognition of this, ECU is committed to encouraging religious acceptance and avoid stereotyping or discrimination.

Facilities for spiritual service and prayer have been provided at Joondalup and Mount Lawley for staff and students of any faith and the Organisation Development team is HR is beginning the foundation for staff development sessions in this area.

In 1998 ECU published a Statement of Reconciliation; it’s first expression of its commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. This is evidenced through the ECU statement of commitment to Indigenous Australians and our ongoing Reconciliation Action Plan which can both be found on the Indigenous Matters page:


ECU’s vision is to be recognised for our world ready graduates and part of achieving this goal is giving staff the awareness, knowledge and skills to work in and with the diverse cultural groups that make up ECU. Our international strategy can be found here:

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