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    Equality and Diversity Annual Report 2013


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    Published: November 2013 The equality scheme objectives and action plans to which this report relates are available from The Open University’s Equality and Diversity website at www.open.ac.uk/equality-diversity/ Comments or queries about this report are welcomed and should be sent to the postal or email address below, for the attention of the Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights Equality, Diversity and Information Rights Team University Secretary’s Office The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA Tel: 01908 652867 / 652566 Minicom: 01908 653074 Email: strategy-equality@open.ac.uk Web: www.open.ac.uk/equality-diversity If you would like to receive the information in this report in a different format to meet your needs, please contact the Equality, Diversity and Information Rights Team. Front cover image: © Cienpiesnf/Dreamstime.com


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    Contents Welcome Features Summary Introduction The OU has ‘Great Performance against Page 2 Expectations’ equality objectives Tony O’Shea-Poon, Head of Page 12 Page 10 Equality, Diversity and Tutors that communicate high For the first time, we report Information Rights, introduces expectations of their students progress against the specific the 2013 report and talks about help to create self-reinforcing and measurable, outcome- our plans to counteract environments of student focused equality objectives that unconscious bias. success. Find out about our we published in April 2012. work with the Higher Education After the first year, we can In Brief Academy to close the ethnicity demonstrate significant Page 4 attainment gap. progress across the majority of In this section, we summarise these, with clear plans in place some of the contributions to across all nine objectives. advancing equality made by In this section, we have also departments from across the shared some of the feedback University. we received from equality Mainstreaming equality organisations in the past year. Page 9 Latest trend data In this section we update you published on our continued efforts to ‘Young at Heart’ – In addition to this annual report, mainstream equality at the OU. we have once again published diversifying our a significant volume of academic age profile information in our separate In Depth Page 18 Equality & Diversity monitoring Younger academics make a reports. They contain a valuable contribution to the life comprehensive set of tables Pregnancy and and success of our University and charts for governance, staff maternity that complements the and students, across a wide Page 13 experience of our older range of participation and Here we tell you about our academics. Here we tell you progress indicators at an existing policies to support staff about our work to showcase the institutional level. and the work we are doing to work of younger academics. improve policy and guidelines for students. Advancing academic women’s careers Religion and belief Page 24 Page 19 Find out about our work to Everyone who has a faith has a advance academic women’s right to practice it without careers, including a review of The monitoring reports are interference. Find out about our staff promotions criteria, a new published on our Equality and work to create more inclusive career development Diversity public website at: services that recognise the right programme, and participation in www.open.ac.uk/equality- to religious observance. the Athena SWAN charter. diversity 1


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    Introduction Following the transformation of student finance allocation of financial resources, and commitment and fees across the sector, the OU has retained its of people through project teams and working position as the provider of flexible, affordable and groups. This effort has delivered results, with six of high quality higher education, with an increased the nine objectives showing movement in the focus on supporting more students to complete desired direction, and several far exceeding the their qualifications. Our student body continues to agreed performance indicator. diversify, for example we now have more than 20,000 disabled learners, and our age profile is Despite these commitments and achievements, it changing as we become increasingly attractive to is true to say that much of the work is remedial. It younger students. focuses on the consequences rather than the causes of inequality. The causes of inequality are multiple and complex, and include historical disadvantages experienced by particular groups, the opportunities available to a person based on social, economic and cultural circumstances, direct discrimination arising from overt prejudice, and 1 The launch of FutureLearn in 2013, a wholly indirect discrimination arising from policy and owned company of the OU and the first UK-led common practice that has unintended platform to provide MOOCs (Massive Open Online consequences. Courses), confirms the OUs position at the These causes have a common root, which help to forefront of advances in UK higher education. It will explain at a fundamental level how inequality provide free online courses, widen participation arises, how it continues to manifest itself, despite and promote lifelong learning. FutureLearn our intentions to eliminate it, and despite the partners include over 20 of the best UK and resources we commit to counteracting its effects. international universities, as well as institutions That common root is unconscious bias. with a huge archive of cultural educational material, such as the British Museum. Unconscious bias arises from the stereotypes, both positive and negative, that are pervasive in all Through all of this change, we are unwavering in societies. Stereotypes, or simplifications of our commitment to the pursuit of an inclusive individual identities into group identities, help us to university community and a society where people make sense of the world through categorisation. are treated with dignity and respect, where inequalities are challenged, and where we As individuals progressing our careers or study anticipate and respond positively to different needs goals, we are affected by what is termed and circumstances. ‘stereotype threat’, which affects the opportunities we seek, our confidence to engage in particular Unconscious bias – a social situations, and as many studies confirm, our actual performance in carrying out tasks, including force to be reckoned job interviews and exams. Likewise, as individuals with responsibilities for with managing people, assessing performance and marking students work, we are affected by the A great deal of effort and attention has been given expectations we hold about different people, which to making progress against the University’s are shaped by group categories and the equality objectives since they were published in stereotypes attributed to those categories. Despite April 2012, including direct involvement from senior our individual and collective desires to be free and leaders in championing and leading them, unaffected by these, we are influenced at a subconscious level, affecting our judgment and 1 Visit FutureLearn online at www.futurelearn.com decision-making. 2


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    Introduction Deconstructing Our 2013 annual stereotypes report Our work to reduce and eliminate inequalities is In 2012, we developed a new style for our annual therefore inadequate, without a specific focus on report, which was widely acclaimed by many unconscious bias, and at the OU we have decided stakeholders and we have therefore retained the to give this greater attention through a new project format this year. positioned under the University’s People and The in-brief section provides a snapshot of a Culture strategic programme. The People and wide range of projects and activities distributed Culture programme aims to build staff capabilities across all the functions of the University. in order to strengthen the agility and performance of the University. This year our in-depth sections look at our existing policies and services that ensure we It is too early to outline the specific elements of respond positively to individual needs and the new project, but research has identified some circumstances in relation to religious observance, practical measures that help to surface and tackle and pregnancy and maternity. We also share with unconscious bias. We therefore expect to deploy you the work we have been leading over the past some of these mechanisms, for example: year to improve policy and guidance in these  Implicit measurement techniques, which areas. uncover people’s actual beliefs and attitudes, We report performance against our 2012-2016 rather than their socially desirable responses equality objectives for the first time and the in a non-confrontational way. feature sections provide more detail for three of  Staff learning and development that develops these: the competence needed to challenge language  Great Expectations is a key project under our and behaviours that arise from stereotypes. ethnicity and academic attainment objective.  Communications that contradict negative  The feature, Young at Heart, tells you about stereotypes, including associating positive and our work to highlight the valuable contribution successful attributes with under-represented made by our younger academics and how this and under-performing groups. complements the experience of our older staff.  Active portrayal of diverse role models –  Our work to advance careers for female students and staff who are demonstrating our academic staff is also featured. values and contributing to organisational success and wider society. We have once again included a section on mainstreaming equality, which highlights some Tackling unconscious bias is not the only solution examples of our work to embed equality in to tackling inequality, but as a fundamental cause University processes, so that due regard to of inequality, it cannot be ignored. Surfacing our equality is considered as a matter of normal personal and institutional biases can help us to University business. understand hidden realities, and be more mindful when making decisions that affect individual We hope you enjoy this year’s report and, as opportunity . 2 always, we encourage and welcome your active involvement in achieving our vision of an inclusive University community and society. Tony O’Shea-Poon 2 Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights The OU is grateful to Tinu Cornish for generously sharing her wealth of knowledge on this topic. For further information visit http://differentwithdifference.com 3


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    In brief OU wins ‘Best 50+ continuing Launch of OU led Revised Student Charter education provider’ award 3 FutureLearn launched For the second successive year FutureLearn, announced by the the OU has won an award for OU in December 2012, is an ‘Best 50+ continuing education independent company that will provider’ in the 50+ Awards increase access to higher 2012, voted for by the public. education for students across The 50+ Awards 2012, the UK and the rest of the world organised and presented by the through the provision of free 50+ Show, are based solely on massive open online courses internet nominations and votes (MOOCs). FutureLearn of people aged over 50. announced its first international partnerships with Australia’s Monash University and Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin, bringing the number in June 2013 to 26 partnerships with Martin Bean, OU Vice- universities and cultural Chancellor, launched the institutions, including the British revised Student Charter in 4 Library and the British Council. April 2013. It sets out how FutureLearn will begin to members of the OU community, deliver online courses to both staff and students, should students across the world from work together so everyone can September 2013. benefit from a shared set of values. The Student Charter, made up of four sets of OU OU Web Standards and community members’ Governance site launched responsibilities, has been Transgender policy and The launch of the Web developed jointly by University guidance implemented Standards Governance website staff and the OU Students’ provides a new resource for Association with input from The OU’s transgender policy Web development teams to more than 500 people. The first and guidance for staff and help them ensure they are of four principles in the Charter separate policy and guidance creating standards-compliant is that we treat each other with for students were approved in sites. It contains information dignity and respect which is July 2013. The new procedures about the OU's current web fully aligned to the principles in have been established to standards and the governance the University’s Equality ensure clear, effective and structure around them. Web Scheme. confidential support that meets standards are increasingly the individual requirements of important as they provide affected staff and students. The consistency and accessibility policies and guidance will be for website users. communicated to tutors via TutorHome, students via StudentHome and staff via the Human Resources intranet. 4 To see the revised Student Charter 3 For further information about go to: FutureLearn go to: http://www.open.ac.uk/students/essenti www.futurelearn.com al-documents/our-statements-of-service 4


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    In brief Dementia Symposium Supporting Health Extension African farmers' education Workers in Ethiopia programme launched A national symposium, hosted by the OU’s Science Faculty in OU Science Faculty A programme developed by the May 2013, brought together key academics, in collaboration with OU to support African farmers researchers from across the UK Addis Ababa University, was launched in the House of who are working in the field of organised a stakeholder Commons in March 2013. 5 dementia. The symposium meeting in January 2013 on Farm-Ed aims to make a step- showcased the range of mental health training in Addis change in agricultural education research perspectives that are Ababa, as part of its work to in Africa by providing access to contributing to the improve the education of Health free Open Educational understanding of dementia, Extension Workers (HEWs) in Resources on agricultural providing a forum for discussion Ethiopia. This meeting brought practice and policy. It was and exchange of ideas within together key stakeholders in launched at an all Party and across disciplines. mental health care to share Parliamentary Group on ideas on how to enhance Agriculture and Food for HEWs knowledge, attitudes Development, with an event Diabetes awareness and practice in the field of adult attended by over 40 people To coincide with World mental health problems and from Government, international Diabetes Week in June 2013, child developmental disorders. Non-Government the OU iTunes U channel The outputs will feed into an Organisations, the agriculture promoted a selection of its on-going research project, sector and representatives from content on Diabetes, explaining supported by the charity Autism the OU. Farm-Ed is a what it is like to live with and Speaks, to enhance existing partnership with the Natural care for someone with training material for HEWs. Resources Institute at the diabetes. At least 171 million University of Greenwich, The people worldwide have Regional Universities Forum for OU awarded over £210,000 Capacity Building in Agriculture diabetes and this figure is set to for students in Botswana (RUFORUM) and others. double by 2030. This chronic condition, which occurs when The OU has secured £214,700 the body cannot produce or funding from the effectively use the insulin it Commonwealth Scholarship needs, can be the cause of Commission to support 15 many serious health students from Botswana on the complications leading, amongst MSc in Advanced Networking. other problems, to blindness, The Botswana Government has foot ulcers and kidney failure. identified a need for Computing and IT graduates and has been Image:freedigitalphotos investing in their education, working alongside providers such as Botho College. A number of the graduates are now registered to study the OU Master’s degree. Image: freedigitalphotos 5 For further information see: http://www.open.ac.uk/about/internation al-development/ido-africa/farm-ed 5


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    In brief Getty Foundation Award Carers’ event at OU in Wales Adult Returners’ project The OU in Ireland has been The OU across the UK has The ‘Adult returner journeys awarded a grant of £60,000 identified Carers as a widening through Higher Education to from the Getty Foundation to participation priority group. The Science, Technology, extend its “New Openings: Open University in Wales Engineering and Mathematics Working with Schools” hosted a Carers’ education and (STEM) careers’ project in the programme with disadvantaged skills event in October 2012. South-West seeks to provide young people in Belfast, by The event, built on the success exemplars of mature adult providing education in a safe of the Carers Education returners, many with non- and supported environment. Project, which has been standard qualifications, who The programme will commence running since 2010, and won have successfully graduated in in 2013/14 and will provide the main prize at the UK-wide STEM subjects at South West places on Openings Universities Association for universities and progressed Programmes for two years. Lifelong Learning Awards in onto STEM-related careers. 2012. Carers, policymakers, Case studies are being adult learning providers, prepared and disseminated representative groups and widely through existing online charities came together at the resources and will provide role national centre to share models in order to stimulate experiences and provide interest in STEM subject information about the learning degrees. support that is available. Image: Karen Parker Older People and Online Social Interactions In collaboration with Age UK Milton Keynes and JISC Scottish Government Autism TechDis, the OU’s Faculty of Initiative Health and Social Care is The Scottish Government has investigating the role of online allocated £50,000 annually for social interactions in supporting the next three years to fund people aged 65 or over to avoid almost 200 students in or overcome social isolation, Scotland to study the OU’s and to maintain and develop SK124 ‘Understanding the social connectedness. A Autism Spectrum’ as part of a participatory workshop wider initiative to promote the discussed usability and Scottish Government’s autism accessibility aspects of website strategy. design for older people, with a specific focus on age-related impairments and also examined Image: Andy Hendry online safety issues and the implications for older people and the people who support them. 6


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    In brief Positive Role Model Award Studies of ageing Book on modern for Age masculinities: still in their relationships wins award infancy? The OU celebrated the A book on modern relationships contribution of extraordinary The OU’s Centre for Ageing by OU Psychology Lecturer Dr people in our society by and Biographical Study Meg Barker has triumphed in sponsoring and presenting the research group (CABS) the Erotic Awards 2013. Positive Role Model Award for organized this one day seminar “Rewriting the Rules” which Age at the first National on the studies of ageing explores the complicated and Diversity Awards, held in masculinities in February 2013. contradictory 'rules' of love in st Manchester in September The event brought together the 21 century, won the 2012. The awards recognise scholars from different award's Academic category for and reward the achievements disciplines to consider the its “high quality, sex-positive, of inspiring and dedicated contemporary social lives of inclusive and unique” approach. individuals and grass-roots older men. Sociological and The book challenges the more community organisations that gerontological research traditional views of love and tackle issues of inclusion and concerning men’s ageing discusses how there are social justice. The winner of the remains piecemeal and under- diverse ways of being sexual OU-sponsored award was theorised despite recognition of and relating to others. The Michael Burton, a sports tutor the gendered nature of ageing. Erotic Awards are an annual at the Grimsby Institute in This workshop showcased celebration of sexual creativity Yorkshire, who was nominated current research in this area and diversity with the goal of for his outstanding work with with the aim of forging a multi- helping society become more entry level sport learners to disciplinary network of scholars, open-minded about sex and assist them in both their practitioners and end users more accepting of sexual educational and personal lives. interested in men’s ageing, and diversity. generating future research collaborations. Access to Success programme exceeds target The target for the intake on the “The Truth about Mental new Access to Success Health” programme, aimed at widening The OU collaborated with the participation was exceeded for BBC World Service Health March 2013. Access to Check team to bring a series of Success is an OU scheme, six programmes during May jointly funded by the and June 2013, highlighting Government’s National novel and innovative ways Scholarship Programme and being used around the globe, to the OU, to attract students who treat and cope with mental live in England, are from illness. From Africa to Asia, the households with an income of Middle East to Europe, the less than £25,000, and have series explored radically little or no previous higher different attitudes and education experience. A total of definitions of mental health and 2,166 students were recruited mental wellbeing. for March 2013, reaching 114% of the original target. 7


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    In brief Ensuring reasonable Awareness raising event on Audio Recording Centre adjustments for staff disabled student support The Disability Resources Team accommodation moves A staff awareness raising event has worked with faculty A checklist has been developed was held at Walton Hall in academics to enable the audio by Estates which is used to December 2012. The aim of the recording of examination identify individual accessibility event, which included a papers for print-impaired needs or requirements. The seminar on alternative formats students. Module team Chairs checklist provides a guide for and assistive technology, was and other academic team Estates accommodation staff to enable staff to find out about members have been trained to and staff who are responsible support and services for read around 100 papers since for moves within buildings or disabled students including: April 2012. Throughout these across campus. A specific Visual Impairment support; recording sessions they were question ‘Do you feel Estates Library services; Residential able to experience directly a meet the needs of staff with a schools; Curriculum range of accessibility issues disability within your accessibility; Audio Recording and make essential changes. Unit/Department?’ was added Centre; Alternative formats; The team of volunteer readers to the Estates Customer Survey Communication support and has been strengthened as to identify whether individual OU Students’ Association many of those involved have adjustments for disabled staff services. offered to read more generally are perceived as satisfactory. for the Audio Recording Centre in the future. Improved advice and guidance for disabled students The Learner Development Team has incorporated specific Image: John Birdsall advice and guidance for disabled students and those Improvements to Small who are carers into student- Equipment Loan Scheme facing sites that support module The Disability Resources Team choice. The Student Help have addressed two significant Centre has been expanded to aspects of the process - stock include FAQs on assistive turnaround and dispatch times. technologies and support for A new contract has been additional requirements. A short agreed with a national provider video on the support available Image: Karen Parker of Assistive Technology. Since to disabled students has also August 2012, there have been been produced. significant improvements in the speed and quality of service to students using this scheme. Students are telephoned within 10 workings days of taking receipt of their equipment so that we can monitor how well the loan meets their requirements. 8


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    Mainstreaming report Our approach to mainstreaming Alongside our work to drive change through specific equality objectives, we continue to work to embed equality through core processes and functions. Our approach to mainstreaming is built primarily around our annual planning process, whereby each unit sets out plans for the year ahead, including equality and diversity plans. Below we have provided examples of the activities led by four departments in the past year to mainstream equality further. Learning and Teaching Solutions Open Media Unit Usability and accessibility testing is carried out for Those responsible for commissioning media all Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platforms now seek to ensure that they have developments via the Institute of Educational access to presenters and actors from diverse Technology (IET) against current standards. This backgrounds, so that programmes are ensures that new VLE tools are not released representative. OpenLearn has incorporated the unless they are shown to meet accessibility W3C web accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0) into standards. Moodle and Structured Content have standard documentation. They have been been further rigorously tested by IET against the specifically added to: third party brief (sent to standards. Considerable work has been done to agencies when they are invited to bid); new feature improve JAWS and other assistive software functional specification; project specification and readability of Structured Content. Subtitles as well plan. This is to ensure that accessibility is made as transcripts are provided as standard with all explicit before design and scoping commences. It video material delivered. The approach is not only ensures internally commissioned content supported by a dedicated alternative formats meets best practice, but it is particularly useful for intranet site and developer forum. Accessibility is projects involving external agencies, who will need now effectively planned into new module to demonstrate that they have met our standards. production in a more systematic and consistent way than ever before. Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) The Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Information Technology is introducing a process for monitoring the A new development standard has been designed Widening Access and Success priority group and rolled out to ensure new systems continue to performance indicators in a more systematic way. be reviewed for compliance with accessibility This will involve several review points throughout standards when designed. The Project the year with a range of stakeholders within the Management Office undertakes compliance Pro-Vice-Chancellor offices, to identify any issues checks. Testing process and procedures are for the Pro-Vice-Chancellors during their analysis embedded within the Software Development of the indicators at regular monthly meetings. The LifeCycle that was implemented in November 2012 Faculties' equality and diversity and widening so that equality and diversity requirements are part participation plans for 2013/14 will be reviewed by of the test approach documentation produced for the Pro-Vice-Chancellors and detailed feedback projects. provided prior to submission of final plans to the relevant Planning and Resource Officer. 9


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    Performance In April 2012, the OU published specific and Obj. 3: Reduce the ethnicity attainment gap measurable, outcome-focused, equality 6 SAE: Director, Teaching and Learner Support objectives , signalling clearly the priorities identified for inequalities to be reduced over a four- KPI: Reduce the difference from 28.8% to year period, between 2012 and 2016. 25.8% by 2014/15 2013: Gap is 28.9% for 2011/12 year The objectives were developed following an audit Status: Amber of inequalities, and agreed by the Equality and See page 12 for a feature on this objective. Diversity Management Group, following both internal and public consultation. The objectives focus primarily on the Obj. 4: Increase the proportion of younger characteristics of age, disability, ethnicity and academic staff gender as we have robust monitoring systems in SAE: Director, Academic Planning and place for these characteristics. Objectives eight Resources and nine however set out our plans to improve KPI: Increase staff aged 35 and under from monitoring, policy and guidance for other 12% to 14% characteristics. 2013: 11% at June 2013 The objectives establish clear accountability for Status: Red delivery and we are pleased to report significant See page 18 for a feature on this objective. progress after the first year. The information that follows provides an overview of performance for our nine objectives, while feature sections later in Obj. 5: Increase the satisfaction of ethnic this report provide more detail for three of these. minority staff SAE: Director of Human Resources Obj. 1: Maintain the proportion of new disabled undergraduates KPI: Reduce difference in intention to leave 7 from 14% to 10%; reduce difference in SAE : Director of Marketing and Sales 8 job satisfaction from 9% to 6% KPI : Maintain a 3-year average of 3.4% 2013: Difference in intention to leave reduced 2013: Well above target, achieving 10.5% at to 10% and difference in satisfaction the beginning of 2013 reduced to 4%; achieved in 2012, 2 years Status: Green earlier than expected Status: Green Obj. 2: Increase the satisfaction of disabled students Obj. 6: Increase the satisfaction of disabled staff SAE: Director, Institute of Educational SAE: Director of Human Resources Technology KPI: Reduce difference in job satisfaction from KPI: Increase from 82% to 84% 6% to 4% for internal staff; reduce 2013: Achieved target 2 years earlier than difference from 7% to 5% for Associate expected Lecturer (AL) staff Status: Green 2013: Difference for internal staff reduced to 5%; difference for AL staff eliminated in 6 2012 survey The objectives are published in full at www.open.ac.uk/equality-diversity 7 Status: Green SAE = Senior Accountable Executive, the role responsible for delivery of the objective 8 KPI = Key Performance Indicator 10


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    Performance Obj. 7: SAE: Reduce the gender pay gap Deputy Director of Human Resources 9 Recognition KPI: Reduce difference from 8.5% to 6.5% The OU achieved the Athena SWAN bronze award 2013: No change; further analysis has identified in April 2013 and the judging panel commended that the key issue to be addressed is the our application, stating that it was a strong proportion of women in senior academic submission with excellent data presentation and roles. This objective will be reformulated honest reflection. Athena SWAN is the charter that with a new KPI in 2014 supports the careers of women in science, technology, engineering and maths in higher Status: Red education and research. See page 24 for further See page 24 for a feature on this objective. information. Obj. 8: Improve equality monitoring information for staff and students SAE: Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights KPI: Introduction of monitoring of caring In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Michael responsibilities, return from maternity Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality leave, religion or belief, and sexual Commission for Northern Ireland, acknowledged orientation the considerable efforts made by the OU to ensure that our Equality Scheme meets high standards of 2013: Monitoring of religion or belief, sexual good practice. The Commission approved the orientation and caring responsibilities University’s revised Equality Scheme in June introduced in 2013 2013, one of the first UK-wide scheme to be Status: Green approved by the Commission for functions in Northern Ireland. Obj. 9: Improve equality policy and guidance for staff and students SAE: Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights KPI: Improved policy and guidance relating to gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief and caring At around the same time, Alastair Pringle, Director responsibilities of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2013: New staff and student policies introduced Scotland wrote to the Director of the OU in for gender reassignment; new student Scotland, stating that he was impressed to read policy introduced for pregnancy and about the work that the OU has done to embed maternity; work underway to increase equality in the OU’s Outcome Agreement for awareness of key religious festivals in Scotland, and said that the principles adopted to order to avoid clashes with University apply the specific equality duties in Scotland events; work on caring responsibilities to represented a very positive approach. commence in 2014. Status: Green 9 From 2013/14, responsibility has transferred to the Director, Research, Scholarship and Quality 11


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    The OU has ‘Great Expectations’ Tutors’ awareness of the impact of their Reducing the ethnicity expectations and subsequent behaviours is being attainment gap raised and they are being given the tools to strengthen engagement and develop students’ One of the University’s priority equality objectives competences in key tasks. Small successes and is to reduce the ethnicity attainment gap between the use of multiple ‘micro-affirmations’ will help the proportion of White students and Black students increase their confidence. Put together, students obtaining a ‘good pass’ at undergraduate research suggests that this will ultimately raise levels 2 and 3, which determine overall degree students’ attainment. classification. In 2011/2012, around 20% of Black students achieved a good pass compared with around 49% of White students, which is a similar Unconscious bias difference to the higher education sector as a Two projects are underway to assess the impact of whole. unconscious bias on student results. The first is a computer-aided statistical analysis of a core level 1 Arts module, reviewing student assessment scripts for several years. It will attempt to find correlations between results, ethnicity and the quantity and quality of written feedback. The results may have implications for the assessment and marking guidance provided to tutors. The second study, still at planning stage, will The “Great expectations” assess whether ethnic or cultural bias exists in tutor marking because of the stereotypes that project might be associated with student names. The experiment will consist of assigning names of The OU is participating in a collaborative project different ethnic and cultural origins to assessment with the Higher Education Academy and seven scripts and having them marked by a number of other universities, taking action to address the staff. The results may have implications for how attainment gap. Each university is taking a different scripts are currently marked at the OU. approach with the idea being that collectively, progress can be made on understanding what types of interventions can deliver results. The OUs English language development approach focuses on staff development. English Language and Academic Literacy A significant body of evidence points to the impact resources are available to tutors and now better that expectations can have in raising attainment. organised through a new Tutor website. Tutors Tutors who actively communicate high have access to tools to provide feedback on expectations, while also challenging any low language development needs to students. A wide expectations that students have of themselves, will range of academic language resources are also help to create positive environments that achieve available to students. positive outcomes. The OU’s new access modules include an English To date, workshops have been run with about 100 language diagnostic and advice for students, and tutors and an information and resource website academic use of English is a key skill developed has been developed. through the module learning. 12


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    In depth… Pregnancy and maternity “Pregnant students face particular challenges in the educational system, particularly in relation to finances and taking time out” Meet the parents National Union of Students, 2009 13


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    Pregnancy and maternity Advancing equality Pregnancy and maternity Campus nursery policies and guidance for staff Mulberry Bear Day Nursery is a work-place nursery based at the OU Milton Keynes campus with 54 The OU has comprehensive policies and places for children ranging from babies to school procedures with regard to maternity, paternity and age. The nursery is committed to providing high adoption leave and pay for staff. A ‘New and quality childcare and education through play in an expectant mothers operational standard’ is in place enriched environment and shares a unique to protect staff from being exposed to significant relationship with the OU, providing cost effective risks at work. There is also a Contingency Leave childcare to university employees. Scheme designed to support internal staff to deal with an emergency or unexpected situation, and an Unpaid Career Break scheme for internal staff with Flexible working caring responsibilities. In addition there are statutory Parental Leave provisions, which provide The Government has set out proposals to extend for fixed amounts of unpaid parental leave for male the statutory right to request flexible working to all and female staff for the purposes of caring for a employees with 26 weeks service or more from child, and statutory Dependants Leave which 2014. Currently this right applies only to entitles staff to reasonable time off without pay to employees with parental responsibility for a child, deal with an emergency involving a dependant. or caring responsibilities for an adult. The University already operates a considerable number of formal and informal flexible working Resting and baby changing arrangements for staff across many units, including facilities part-time working, term-time working, compressed hours and home working. In light of the Government’s proposals we have consulted across the University on a set of flexible working principles to guide the development of future University policy and procedures in this area. A project team has been set up to carry this Image:freedigitalphotos work forward with the aim of achieving greater consistency and transparency in decision-making Resting facilities for new and expectant mothers across departments, clearer direction on are available in Occupational Health on the Walton acceptable practice in common circumstances and Hall campus and include a bed, a chair as well as decisiveness in balancing individual requests with hand washing and toilet facilities. Baby changing business needs, while ensuring processes are facilities are also available. National and regional robust and fair. centres also ensure the provision of suitable facilities for new and expectant mothers for rest, Offering flexible working and responding positively ideally close to hand-washing and toilet facilities. to flexible working requests can help retain staff Two centres (South and South East) have a and widen the talent pool. A culture that is dedicated first aid room which includes a bed and generally supportive of flexible working options can chair. In other centres staff are encouraged to use increase commitment and loyalty of staff, which common room areas, meeting rooms, pod and can translate into improved productivity and learner support areas. performance. 14


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    Pregnancy and maternity OU Childcare Voucher Scheme Improved pregnancy and Childcare vouchers are a Government initiative maternity policy and guidance designed to help working parents save money on their registered childcare costs by reducing the tax for students and national insurance contributions payable from A mapping of student provision, information, gross salary via a salary sacrifice arrangement. guidance and support related to pregnancy, The OU operates a salary sacrifice scheme for maternity, paternity, adoption and IVF has been staff through Computershare Voucher Services. completed and considered by the University’s Equality and Diversity Management Group (EDMG). The mapping suggested that the University’s existing arrangements for providing support for students across a number of key environments are extensive but that information is currently scattered and can be difficult for students to locate. As a result of this work, a policy and guidance document covering maternity and related needs for students has been developed to clarify arrangements and to bring a range of information and procedures together in one place and this has been approved by the Student Services Leadership Team. New “Research Degrees Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Guidance” was also approved by Research Degrees Committee in January 2013 and is published on the “Research at the OU Image:freedigitalphotos website”. Key points from the guidance will be included in the Research Student Handbook. Promoting understanding and good relations ‘Protecting our Children’ The BBC documentary ‘Protecting our Children’, Barry Cooper and Lucy Rai, Senior Lecturers in produced with the expert insight of OU academics, Social Work in the Faculty of Health and Social won three awards at the Royal Television Society Care were consultants on the series. Debbie Awards, West of England, in February 2013. The Stringer, Senior Lecturer in Law, was also involved programme followed the work of Bristol's child as part of the module team. The BBC documentary protection teams over the course of a year to see team were presented with the Best Documentary, frontline work first-hand and explore how the crises Best Director and Editing awards for the of the last decade have had an impact on their programme. The series also won the Grierson ability to safeguard children. Award for Best Documentary in 2012. 15


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    Pregnancy and maternity Free online learning resources The LearningSpace on the OU’s OpenLearn 10 website is home to free units of OU study available worldwide. Detecting Down’s syndrome in the unborn foetus Intermediate level, 15 hours The most common pregnancy screening tests carried out assess the risk of having a foetus with Down’s syndrome. This unit discusses the analytical science behind the screening tests for this condition and the diagnostic tests available to confirm the presence or absence of Down’s syndrome in the unborn foetus, which are offered if screening shows an elevated risk. This unit is an adapted extract from The Open University course Analytical science: health, heritage and environments (S240). Early Development Introductory level, 20 hours This unit looks at the human being in the context of an individual life cycle, examining some of the processes that contribute to the formation of a new person. After a brief discussion of historical ideas about human conception, and about contraception to the present day, the Unit looks at the cells involved in the conception and development of a new individual and the early development of a new individual, along with some thoughts on women's experience of pregnancy. This unit is an adapted extract from Human biology and health (SK220) which is no longer in presentation Understanding children: Babies being heard Introductory level, 5 hours This unit explores some of the things very young babies can do and how babies can contribute to family life and relationships from birth. The unit also looks at what they need from other adults and children, and what they can learn. This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from the OU course Understanding children (Y156) which is no longer in presentation. Study at the OU 11 Some of our current modules on child development, children and young people include: Module name Credits (A full-time year OU level is normally 120 credits) Understanding children and young people (Y176) 15 1 The early years: developing practice (E100) 60 1 Child development (ED209) 60 2 Working with children, young people and families (K218) 60 2 Working together for children (KE312) 60 3 Issues in research with children and young people (EK313) 60 3 10 http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ 11 For further information on OU modules and qualifications visit http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/ 16


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    Pregnancy and maternity Research at the OU “Developmental Journal for Children and “Troubled talk and talk about troubles: Moral Young People with Multiple Needs” 12 cultures of infant feeding in professional, policy and parenting discourse” 14 This newly- launched Helen Lomax examines the resource was ways in which policy developed by agendas and contemporary John Oates notions of the ‘good mother’ and Silvana Mengoni of the OU’s frame infant feeding Child and Youth Studies Group in practices, rendering them a site of moral and the Centre for Research in Education and interactional trouble for mothers. Drawing on Educational Technologies, with a team of specialist analysis of mothers’ talk with midwives during the advisers and consultants. It has been produced to first days of motherhood, the book chapter help families and practitioners support the explores the ways in which breastfeeding confers a achievements of children whose development is positive maternal identity, whilst choosing not to do affected by multiple factors that result in so is associated with a deficit identity against challenges to learning. It is based on the concept which mothers’ struggle to present themselves as of a series of 'Can Do' cards which help parents good parents. and practitioners to observe, record and celebrate children's and young people's abilities, and to develop and strengthen these. “Entitled to a sustainable career? Motherhood in science, engineering and technology” 15 Sustaining careers and motherhood is particularly “Who’s the Daddy? – ideas about fathers from challenging in highly masculinised science, a young men’s prison” 13 engineering and technology (SET) sectors. This Drawing from an journal article by Clem Herman and Suzan Lewis ethnographically-informed study explores this issue using a social comparison of men’s identities and social theory perspective and draws on interviews with relations in prison, this journal professional engineers and scientists from four article by Rod Earle explores the companies in Italy, France and the Netherlands. It ways in which ideas about presents examples of three women who achieved fatherhood are institutionally deployed and senior roles despite working reduced hours and personally experienced. Based on interviews and discusses combinations of conditions which may observational data in a young offender institution facilitate sustainable careers and caring roles. for 18 to 21 year-old men, the article considers young men’s orientations toward being a father and their participation in parenting classes and a ‘Fathers Inside’ group. 12 John Oates is Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology 14 in the Faculty of Education and Language Studies (FELS). Helen Lomax is Senior Lecturer in Leadership, in the Faculty Silvana Mengoni is Research Associate in FELS. The journal is of Health and Social Care. Further information is available at freely available to download at: http://www.ncb.org.uk/early- OpenResearch Online: http://oro.open.ac.uk/31064/ 15 support/resources/developmental-journals/developmental- Clem Herman is Senior Lecturer in Telematics, in the Faculty journal-for-children-and-young-people-with-multiple-needs of Mathematics, Computing and Technology. Suzan Lewis is 13 Rod Earle is Lecturer in Youth Justice, in the Faculty of Professor of Organisational Psychology at Middlesex Health and Social Care. For further information see Open University. Further information about the journal article is Research online: http://oro.open.ac.uk/34133/ available at Open Research online: http://oro.open.ac.uk/31579/ 17


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    ‘Young at Heart’ – diversifying our academic age profile The findings and recommendations are being Young academics objective implemented from September 2013. Younger academics make a valuable contribution Improvements are expected to include: to the University that complements the experience strengthening policy and guidance on composition of older academics. of selection panels; producing best practice examples for job descriptions and person The proportion of OU academic staff including specifications for each level of academic post, and researchers aged 35 and under was just 11% at defining essential and desirable job criteria more April 2013, which is significantly below the sector fully. average of 28%. While we receive a large volume of applications from younger academics, the Placement scheme proportion being shortlisted is lower than average. A new placement scheme is being developed in The equality objective that will achieve a more order to provide a pipeline of ‘home-grown’ diverse age profile is championed by The Pro- younger academics, PhD and Post-Doctoral Vice-Chancellor (Academic). It is particularly students, equipped with the skills, experience and challenging as a result of low staff turnover and knowledge that will improve their candidacy for the need to retain experienced academics with early-career academic posts at the OU. The significant research outputs. linkages with staff development programmes are Communications campaign currently being determined, so that the programme is integrated rather than stand-alone. An internal communications campaign has been launched to raise awareness and to positively promote the contribution that younger academics make to the life and success of the University. Initiatives have included Spotlight interviews on the OU intranet and an event held in June 2013 to celebrate the work and achievements of younger academics. This event highlighted the strength gained by harnessing different capabilities and Image: Andy Hendry experiences of staff of all ages. The campaign will be mainstreamed through the University’s internal Progress in academic units communications programme to ensure there is While the overall profile has not yet changed, on-going reinforcement of the key messages. three Faculties reported progress in diversifying their age profile in the past year. The Faculty of Assessment of academic Mathematics, Computing and Technology decided to fill an academic post through a one year recruitment processes and placement opportunity which was limited to practices applicants aged 30 or under. The Faculty of Health and Social Care have created Research A review of Faculty recruitment processes and Assistant posts which are attractive to younger practices has been completed with the aim of and early career academics. The Faculty of Arts removing any unnecessary or inappropriate reported an increase in the proportion of younger barriers to the short-listing and appointment of academics as a result of raising awareness of the younger applicants. priority during recruitment activity. 18


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    In depth… Religion and belief Image: Angela Schröer “The opportunity lies before us to work together to build a society rooted in values we treasure. But this society can only be built on a sure foundation of mutual respect, openness and trust. This means finding ways to live our lives of faith with integrity, and allowing others to do so too.” Code on Building Good Relations Between People of Different Faiths and Beliefs The Inter Faith Network of the United Kingdom 19


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    Religion and belief Advancing equality Monitoring OU Religious Festivals The OU has collected information for many years Calendar and guide regarding staff and student age, disability, ethnicity and gender in order to monitor equality of The OU’s calendar and guide to the most opportunity and help create a more inclusive significant religious festivals provides an important university community. As with many other tool to enable staff to take account of the most organisations, we are now asking staff to inform us significant festival dates in short-term and long- term planning of University activities involving staff about their religion or belief, including if they do not and students. ‘Significant’ here refers to the impact observe any religion. Student monitoring of religion on the workplace and learning environment, and belief is being undertaken through a redesign related to those religions with the largest of the ‘Profile’ section on StudentHome to populations in the UK (Buddhism, Christianity, incorporate the new question and data was Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism). collected for the first time from July 2013. Taking account of these festival dates is a way to The categories we have used for responses are contribute to bringing about our inclusive learning based on those provided by the Higher Education and working culture, as well as helping us meet Statistics Agency, which will enable us to 16 our legal obligations . Staff and students who benchmark our profile with the rest of the higher observe other religious festivals not included in the education sector, and the question has an ‘I prefer calendar are able to make their needs known. not to say’ option. For the festivals listed, the calendar provides dates; a brief description of each festival and a Multi-faith prayer room broad assessment of festival impact on staff and student activities using a flag indicator. Red = A multi-faith prayer room is located on the OU ‘essential dates to avoid’; Amber = ‘alternative Walton Hall campus. This is suitable for use by arrangements may be required for some people’ individuals or small groups who wish to pray The Calendar has recently been updated to together or for those seeking peace for quiet include festival dates for 2014-2015 and there is a contemplation. The prayer room is open Monday greater emphasis on avoiding Red flag dates. to Friday, 9am to 5pm and can be booked in advance or users can just turn up. Whilst it is not possible for all regional and national centres to provide a dedicated room, the principle is that individual requests for facilities for prayer will be accommodated wherever possible. 16 The Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 and the Equality Act 2009 which apply in Great Britain; the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 Image: Sally Medway applies in Northern Ireland; and the Human Rights Act applies in the UK. 20


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    Religion and belief Religious observance Religion and Belief policy and The policy, with regard to time off for internal staff guidance for students for religious observances, is that days other than The Equality, Diversity and Information Rights public holidays should be allowed by managers but Team has begun to scope new policy and taken as part of the contractual holiday entitlement. guidance on religion and belief for students. This Other examples of reasonable accommodations work is part of our stated equality objective to for religious observance for staff are outlined in the provide greater clarity and transparency for University’s Annual Leave Policy. students about the services and support they can expect to receive in relation to different needs and circumstances. Promoting understanding and good relations Free online learning resources The LearningSpace on the OU’s OpenLearn 17 whether argument and evidence are even possible website is home to free units of OU study available when we are thinking about religion. The unit notes worldwide. the variety of possible ways of arguing for or against God’s existence; distinguishes three Studying Religion different arguments; and describes and assesses Introductory level, 20 hours one of them in more detail. It is an adapted extract from the Open University course Exploring This unit gives an opportunity to philosophy (A222). think about some of the key concepts and methods of the Religion today: Themes and Issues discipline of religious studies, Advanced level, 15 hours with examples of different forms of religious practice and belief, mostly from Britain and India. There is a widespread The unit compares the ways in which boundaries perception in the West that are drawn (or not drawn) between what is held to we live in a secular age, in be ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ in two different which religion is at best an societies. This material is from our archive and is optional extra, if not a false delusion completely an adapted extract from An introduction to the out of place. However, religion still arouses humanities (A103) which is no longer taught. passion and causes controversy; it controls and transforms lives. An informed understanding of the Introducing the philosophy of religion contemporary world thus requires an appreciation Intermediate level, 12 hours of the role of religion in shaping ideas, world-views and actions that have an impact on the social as This unit explores the well as on the personal life of the individual. This meanings of the key terms unit gives a glimpse into this fascinating area. This ‘God’ and ‘religion’; some key material is from our archive and is an adapted questions in the philosophy of extract from Religion today: Themes and issues religion; the difference between philosophical and (AD317) which is no longer taught. non-philosophical questions about religion and 17 http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ 21


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    Religion and belief Study at the OU 18 We offer a range of Religious Studies and philosophy modules including: Module name Credits (A full-time year OU level is normally 120 credits) The arts past and present (AA100) 60 1 From enlightenment to Romanticism (A207) 60 2 Introducing religions (A217) 60 2 Exploring philosophy (A222) 60 2 Why is religion controversial? (A332) 60 3 Thought and experience: themes in the philosophy of mind 60 3 (AA308) 18 For further information on OU modules and qualifications visit http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/ 22


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    Religion and belief Research at the OU “Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding “Protestant-Catholic Conflict from the 19 Religion as Everyday Life” Reformation to the 21st Century: the Dynamics of Religious Difference” 21 This new book by Graham Harvey attends to more This new book by John Wolffe widespread religious activities takes a fresh look at the roots than believing in or even and implications of the enduring worshipping deities. It major historic fissure in western challenges definitions of Christianity, which has had “religion” that emphasise “belief profound implications for culture, in God” because this is only one social life, politics and element of what only some international relations across five religious people do when they do religion. It is centuries. New insights into the interested in the braiding of religiosity with other historic dynamics of Protestant-Catholic conflict not everyday activities and aims to provide a new only illuminate present-day contexts, such as foundation for studying religion(s) that does not Northern Ireland and the United States, where give preference to themes arising from the history such polarities persist, but will also suggest and polemics of only one religion. instructive comparisons for approaching other seemingly entrenched conflicts in which religion is implicated, such as the perceived 'clash of “Regina Jonas: forgetting and remembering civilisations' between Christianity and Islam. 20 the first female rabbi” Regina Jonas (1902–44), who “The Mahdi and the End-Times in Islam” 22 was ordained in Germany in 1935, is now widely recognised This book chapter by Hugh as the world's first female rabbi. Beattie, begins by discussing the However, for almost 50 years origins and historically significant after her death at Auschwitz in features of Muslims’ ideas and 1944, she was given very little, if beliefs about the Mahdi or ‘rightly- any, public recognition. Based on archival guided one’, and the figures and research, interviews and critical engagement with events usually associated with his secondary literature, this journal article by Stefanie appearance. The chapter goes on Sinclair, investigates a range of explanations why to look at some of the religious-political Jonas was nearly lost to historiography. It also movements which drew on mahdist discourses, considers the circumstances of the rediscovery of including the Shi’ite Fatimids in North Africa and this controversial figure in the early 1990s and the Safavids in Iran, and the Sunni Muwahiddun in explores how she is remembered today. Morocco and Mahdawis in India. 19 Graham Harvey is an OU Reader in Religious Studies. For 21 further information about this book see: John Wolffe is Professor of Religious History. Further http://www.acumenpublishing.co.uk/display.asp?K=e201302010 information about this book is available at Open Research 9221902&dtspan=180:420&sort=sort_date/d&m=54&dc=103 Online http://oro.open.ac.uk/35654/ 20 22 Stefanie Sinclaire is a Lecturer in Religious Studies. Further Hugh Beattie is Staff Tutor in Faculty of Arts. Further information about this journal article is available at Open information about this book chapter is available at Open Research Online http://oro.open.ac.uk/37655/ Research Online http://oro.open.ac.uk/35654/ 23


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    Advancing academic women’s careers Gender pay gap analysis Career development Reducing the gender pay gap was identified as an programme for academic staff OU equality objective as a result of a pay analysis It is acknowledged that there can be no short-term undertaken in 2011. Further analysis has solution to addressing the disparity in numbers identified that for most job types at the OU there is between male and female professors. One of the no pay gap, and differences are largely explained measures being introduced is a development by the higher numbers of men or women in programme to support career progression particular job categories and grades. There is specifically for academic staff. The programme will however, a pay gap between male and female be open to all academics, and it will have a academics at Professorial level; particular focus on long-term career planning, this is due to a disparity in developing understanding of the promotions numbers with fewer women process, and providing support and mentoring to attaining senior professorial levels. raise confidence and resilience, which is expected Currently around one third of OU to be valuable to female academics. Consideration professors are women. is being given to how we will ensure that sufficient Image: freedigitalphotos women are put forward and selected for this programme New principles for academic “Crossing the boundaries: and research staff promotion Gender, STEM and scheme Employability reconsidered” Senate has approved a new set of principles that This seminar, in collaboration with University will form a framework to underpin the development College London, Napier University and Sheffield of a revised academic staff promotion scheme. Hallam University, was held at the OU in London in The principles arise from the need to ensure clarity November 2012. The growing interest in about the requirements that a promotion case must employability presented a new opportunity to look meet in order to be successful, the need to at an old problem of how to support women into establish equality of opportunity for promotion that STEM (science, technology, engineering and takes into account individual circumstances such mathematics) employment. Women graduating in as part-time employment, sickness, maternity STEM subjects are less likely to go on to further leave and other such absences, and the need to study or employment in these sectors and more align the promotion scheme with existing policies, likely to leave the sector and work elsewhere. frameworks and quality standards both in the Moreover among those who do gain employment University and in the sector. in these sectors, many leave after a career break and find it difficult to return. The seminar enabled A working group has been established comprising reflection and discussion on current practice as representatives of the Academic Staff Promotions well as theoretical concepts that could help to Committee, Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Deans. shape more effective interventions in this area and Further detailed work is underway and will include offer new ways to embed gender into STEM a consultation with stakeholders. employability, policy and practice. 24


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    Advancing academic women’s careers OU wins award for supporting Martin Bean speaks at the OU the careers of women STEM Women’s Network Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor was the speaker at the first meeting in June 2013 of the newly formed OU STEM Women’s Network. The Network is part of the Athena SWAN action plan. Martin was enthusiastic in his support for the Network, and for the Athena SWAN agenda which, he felt, very much reflected the OU’s mission on openness. The OU has joined a host of top universities in the UK in gaining our first Athena SWAN Award. The Awards are given to universities, as well as individual departments that have shown good practice in supporting the careers of women in “... as a University, we want science, technology, engineering and mathematics in higher education and research our teaching and research to Our Athena SWAN Bronze Award recognises that be world class, but that is not the OU has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture going to happen if we ignore that values all staff. The Athena SWAN Award judging panel commended our application and the talents of half the commented that it was: “A strong submission with excellent data presentation and honest reflection population. The contribution demonstrating a clear commitment to change and a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias”. of female academics to STEM subjects is absolutely essential ...” Over the next three years this work will continue and be developed across the university through 23 an action plan. Martin Bean from the letter of endorsement for the OU’s Athena SWAN application 23 The Athena SWAN action plan is published on our equality and diversity website at: www.open.ac.uk/equality-diversity 25


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