The College of Science aims to be an inclusive community of students and staff, where every member feels a sense of belonging and common purpose. We expect members of our community to show kindness in every interaction, and to resolve disagreements in a respectful and constructive manner. We want our members to bring their whole selves to the College.

To achieve this goal, we work on continuously improving our culture. This includes understanding the problems (e.g., through culture surveys), reinforcing the positives (e.g., in promotion guidelines), and educating ourselves (e.g., through cultural awareness trainings). Our objective is not to tightly control behaviours, but to grow together to become the community we want to be.

Key links

Resources and Initiatives

Disclosure tools

We aim to have more disclosure tools available soon, allowing members of our community to report (anonymously if they want to) any incident they witness (e.g., racist behaviours).

At this stage, racism can be reported through the complaint system, as described on this page.

ANU Ally Network and LGBTIQA+ inclusion

The ANU Ally Network is a visible network of staff and students across the University who support the University’s commitment to providing an inclusive and respectful university environment for people who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and/or asexual (LGBTIQA+).

Discover how we can also improve LGBTIQA+ inclusion in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine via, Pride in STEM.

Community Events Calendar

The Community Events Calendar 2024 recognises significant events observed around the world, both religious and non-religious, highlighting the diversity of people, perspectives and beliefs. Teams are encouraged to observe and learn about these events to include and appreciate the diversity in our workplace and broader community. Education and awareness is a critical element of building an inclusive workplace in which we welcome a diverse representation of society and are a progressive, collaborative organisation.

Managers are encouraged to understand the events that are significant to their staff and whether it is appropriate to recognise or celebrate those events within their team.

The ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2021 has provision for staff to take cultural leave for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with the staff member's particular religious faith, culture or tradition, subject to the required notice and reasonable evidence as to the nature of the activity or ceremony the staff member is obliged to attend.

The Community Events Calendar uses a * to indicate a day when observant staff are most likely to take cultural leave. However, this list is not exhaustive, and staff are encouraged to discuss leave requirements with their supervisor and provide the appropriate evidence.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members are entitled to additional leave to fulfil cultural, community and family obligations under clause 36.13 and 36.14 of the ANU Enterprise Agreement. This includes one day paid NAIDOC leave annually.

CoS Wellbeing Portal

We have launched the CoS Wellbeing Portal, a Sharepoint site that collects internal and external links that CoS staff and students may need to look after their mental health, and seek support when needed.
From ANU procedures to online assessment tools, and from exam stresses to grief and loss, the site is meant to be a hub for all mental health needs. The site will grow over time, so, if you think of something that it is currently missing, please let Nat Thomas (Senior Adviser Diversity and Culture, know.

Cultural Leave Frequently Asked Questions

Should I approve cultural leave for a certain event?

If a staff member has articulated why that event is significant to them (in writing) and met the notice requirement in the ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2021 (EA), than managers are encouraged to support and approve cultural leave.

A staff member is having a family dinner to celebrate an event, should I approve the leave?

If the staff member has articulated why the event is significant and that they traditionally celebrate this event with a family dinner, then yes, supervisors are encouraged to support cultural leave. Some cultural events require significant food preparation and it is appropriate to approve leave to prepare for and attend a dinner.

A staff member has requested cultural leave for a non-religious event, should I approve this?

The EA allows for cultural leave for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with the staff member's particular religious faith, culture or tradition. If an event is significant to an individual where such leave is connected to their identity, their community and where denying such leave would limit feelings of inclusion, psychological safety at work (as in a perception that an individual feels judgement and cannot be their whole self at work), tenure and ultimately the reputation of ANU, then supervisors are encouraged to approve cultural leave for such events.

What if I receive a significant number of cultural leave requests? Can I deny this on operational grounds?

Staff usually request cultural leave for days that are particularly significant to them. For instance, staff identifying to a particular religion will usually request specific days from their relevant calendar (for instance, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Islamic). Such days are usually significant to their region of birth, family, community etc. Managers are encouraged to understand which days are significant to their staff and approve cultural leave for these events. Understanding leave requirements early in the year will help teams manage operational requirements. Cultural leave is usually taken in instances of one or two days and supervisors are encouraged to manage operational requirements around cultural leave requests.

What documentation is required for a cultural leave application?

Significant events are recognised and celebrated differently for each individual. Documentation should therefore be flexible to individual needs. For instance, it could be a pamphlet, itinerary, order of service or an email from the staff member explaining the significance of the event and how it will be or is traditionally observed or celebrated by the individual.

Diverse and Equitable Workforce development action plans

The College of Science Diverse and Equitable Hiring and Workforce Development Procedure (pdf, 292KB) requires each School to develop a five year strategy that identifies underrepresentation in the workforce and lists recruitment and retention practices that will remove employment barriers, improve hiring decisions and create a diverse and inclusive workforce that is representative of the Australian population.

To see how the College is actively improving representation through our recruitment, retention and promotion practices, please click on the strategies below that have been endorsed by the College of Science Executive:

Inclusive language guides

Focusing on language may seem futile to people who have mostly experienced being part of dominant groups, but it is of great importance to minoritised groups. It is an important first step towards culture change. Below are links to guides that describe current best practices in using appropriate language.