Development and Alumni

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion @ Development & Alumni

Equity, diversity, and inclusion matters to us at Development & Alumni (D&A). We know that teams work best together when people bring fresh views and ideas to the table, and when people feel that they belong. For that, we need teams that are diverse and also welcoming of diversity – both things we are actively working to cultivate at D&A.

No one should come to D&A worried that they are not the right fit, or that the University is “not for them”, whether they are an alum, a donor, or a member of staff. We are committed to ensuring that our staff team is as diverse as the global communities we support. At D&A, we are proud of the work we are doing to be more inclusive as a department, to and make sure everyone feels they have a place at the University of Edinburgh.

Our progress

Our work towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive D&A is ongoing. So far, we have:

  • established a D&A EDI Working Group, with representatives from teams across the department.
  • developed a comprehensive and concrete set of internal EDI recommendations (with a strong focus on recruitment and retention of staff from diverse backgrounds).
  • established two EDI Implementation Groups to action these EDI recommendations.
  • hired two interns to support the EDI Working Group and partner on EDI initiatives with other institutions in the Ross Group, the UK-wide network of Development professionals.
  • reworked our job descriptions and adverts so that they invite a diverse range of candidates to apply to work with us.
  • revamped the D&A website to make our commitment to EDI as a department clear to the public.
  • produced guidance on diversity of opinion and having respectful conversations in the workplace.
  • made Unconscious Bias and Equality & Diversity Essentials training mandatory for all D&A staff.

Our staff say...


Mariana- Development and Alumni

“I joined Development and Alumni over 15 years ago in 2008. In that time I have had opportunities to carry out a number of really interesting roles in the Alumni Relations Team, starting at administrator level and moving on from there. I have most recently moved into the role of Senior Project and Engagement Manager – working on major cross departmental projects.

For me, D&A is a very supportive place to work. The management team show genuine concern and compassion for staff. I feel trusted by my line manager. The flexibility offered in terms of working hours is really important to me as a mum of two young children. I felt supported both while I was on maternity leave and in the transition back into work from maternity leave. It is good to be able to talk about challenges in relation to caring responsibilities and know I am not disadvantaged because of my commitments at home. There is no box ticking, or “presenteeism” – and people are supported to genuinely make a difference in their roles.

I feel there is a real sense of compassion and empathy from the leadership team. I think the culture of trust starts with the senior team taking time to listen to staff to make adjustments where needed and act on any concerns raised. You see this in our long-standing Wellbeing at Work Group, which supports social and wellbeing activities and encourages mutual support across the department.

Over the years I have worked in the department I have seen the staff team become gradually more diverse – with people from a wider variety of backgrounds. I think our EDI working group and strong commitment to diversity in recruitment is having a beneficial effect on the team, even though we know we still have further to go. There is a real emphasis on inclusion and a willingness to learn together in order to support a more diverse workplace."


Frano - Development and Alumni

“I am one of three Events and Protocol Officers in D&A. I am from South Africa – one of a number of international members of the department. I am a keen gardener and DIYer, and a tinkerer - and a big Lego enthusiast!

It's important to me to have a role that has a positive impact. That’s one of the things I love about this job.

I have been in the department since 2023. The flexibility around home and office working means people are where they want to be. I have found regardless of where people are working from, you can rely on your colleagues to support you.

There are great opportunities for personal growth – as well as on-the-job training. I have access to all the training relevant to my job. Access to LinkedIn Learning also means being able to pick from a huge range of training opportunities and we are encouraged to take advantage of this. I have been supported by my line manager to take part in some really interesting things outside of my substantive role, such as calling students who apply through clearing – a wonderful experience of giving students good news.”


Nicole - Development and Alumni

“I am the Development contact for the vet school here at the University and have been in the department for a year. I first got to know the vet school when I took one of my beloved cats to the Hospital for Small Animals – over two years before this job came up!

Having come from the charity sector, before starting I was a little anxious about coming to work in a large team – perhaps I might not feel quite so connected to colleagues as I did in smaller teams. The opposite has proven to be the case; the culture of kindness and support as a new member of D&A staff is felt immediately… and I know other new starts have felt the same.

I came into the department with my confidence at a low. The support and expertise of colleagues has helped immeasurably on my journey back to my ‘old self’. The team are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge and you are never left to feel alone. Although there are people with decades of experience in the department, new ideas from new staff are welcomed and there is a real sense of approachability across the team – you know that you can ask a question of any colleague and be met with warmth. Our departmental culture also invites you to bring your authentic self – how many work places can say they have lunchtime walking groups, yoga groups and sometimes even board games?! Workplace wellbeing is something I am really passionate about, and since coming into the department, I have joined the Wellbeing at Work group and we have delivered a number of initiatives which I’ve been able to contribute to planning – being able to bring in areas of your own interest for the benefit of the wider department is very much encouraged.

I split my time between working on one of two campuses and occasionally working from home. The department recognises that work is what you do and not where you are – this culture of trust is empowering and brings with it variety of place and people. For someone like me who doesn’t live in Edinburgh and has a longer commute, that flexibility really helps me to balance my time, too.

I couldn’t recommend the department highly enough – it has been a brilliant year!”