Dr Nicki Ward (left) Lecturer in the School of Social Policy and Dr Nicola Gale, Senior Lecturer in Health Sociology

Two researchers from the University of Birmingham have jointly been awarded Role Model of the Year at the West Midlands Stonewall Awards for their work championing equality and diversity.

Dr Nicola Gale, Senior Lecturer in Health Sociology and Dr Nicki Ward, Lecturer in the School of Social Policy, received the award for their work in developing the Inclusive Curriculum in Higher Education project.

The project outlines recommendations for best practice on LGBTQ- inclusivity was shaped by the results of an extensive survey into the experiences of both LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) and straight cisgender students and staff on campus.

Survey results mirrored national data and demonstrated the difficulties that many LGBTQ students experience, as well as some of the positive practices adopted in higher education to support the LGBTQ student experience.

The best practice guide, which is due to be published in September, will support colleagues across further and higher education to be inclusive about LGBTQ identities in their teaching practice and to feel confident in making gender and sexual diversity visible within the curriculum.

Professor Julie Allan, Professor of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Birmingham, commented: "This award recognises the substantial effort and commitment to equality and diversity over many years by Drs Ward and Gale and their fabulous best practice guide for LGBTQ. It is a wonderful achievement."

Professor Kathleen Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University, commented: “This is fantastic news and very well deserved. As a University, we highly value and celebrate our diversity and are committed to providing an inclusive environment for all members of the University of Birmingham community. I’m therefore delighted to see that our staff have been recognised for their work in championing this important cause.”

• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

• ‘Cisgender’ is a term describing a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.