Our Community

At Birmingham, we teach and research across the full breadth of academic disciplines, creating a vibrant community with multi-disciplinary opportunities for research and education. We are a truly international community consisting of more than 8,000 staff, 38,000 students, and over 300,000 alumni. Our student community is not only one of the largest of any UK university, it is highly diverse, with 82 per cent of our home undergraduate students from state schools, 32 per cent from a BAME background, and 35 per cent in the first generation of their family to attend university.

Our people

The single biggest investment that the University has made in recent years is in people. Since 2015 we have expanded our academic staff numbers by more than 500, including world-class researchers and teachers, leading early-career academics (including through our much-emulated Birmingham Fellows scheme), and Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellows, our innovative scheme to enhance cross-disciplinary working. We are developing an enviable reputation for attracting some of the finest minds in the world to teach and research here.

Our most recent staff survey indicates levels of engagement and pride which most employers would be delighted to achieve and we are committed to building on this through the inclusion of ‘people and culture’ as a core pillar of our new Strategic Framework.

Female student and tutor in personal tuition session with tutor at laptop and student taking notes.

Our Academics

We are reforming the career framework and support we offer to academics at all stages of their career through our Birmingham Academic programme, with the aim of supporting colleagues to develop and maintain an academic culture of intellectual stimulation and high achievement, whilst fostering a deep affinity with the institution.  

Our academic community is supported by highly-capable Professional Services, who work in partnership to support the academic mission of the University, providing technical, professional, administrative, and operational support. Our well-established Birmingham Professional programme affirms our commitment to our Professional Services staff, and provides a range of activities and development opportunities for colleagues in all parts of the organisation.  

A place for everyone

Our staff community represents diversity in many respects: over one third of our academic staff are from overseas, around 22 per cent of our staff are from BAME backgrounds, and five per cent have a declared disability. We value our diversity and aim to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the University community. We believe our diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation and debate at the heart of our academic mission. We hold a Bronze Race Equality Charter Award and a Bronze Athena SWAN Charter award at institutional level with many school-level awards at both silver and bronze. We are actively seeking to improve the number of women in STEMM subjects and at senior levels throughout our institution, including on the University Leadership Forum (around 100 of the most senior leaders in the University) where we have significantly increased the proportion of senior female colleagues in recent years.

We have recently finalised our new Equality Scheme (2021-2024) setting our next objectives and actions. We are particularly focused on making significant improvements in the representation of women and ethnic minorities, particularly at senior levels, accelerating the progress that we have made in recent years in reducing our gender pay gap and in the actions taken in relation to Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter Mark accreditation. Most importantly, our aim is to embed an inclusive culture that provides opportunities for all to flourish and succeed.

Recognising excellence

Each year, the University considers nominations for Honorary Degrees from students, alumni, employees, honorary staff or lay members of the University Council. These awards are normally conferred at one of our Degree Congregations in July or December, bringing remarkable people into the University community providing inspiration to those who are graduating.  

Recent Honorary Graduates include:

  • the former British Ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett CMG
  • CEO at Lloyds Banking Group, António Horta-Osório
  • Shakespearian actor David Troughton
  • Senior Vice-President of the World Bank, Sandie Okoro
  • the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith
  • and Clinical Service Lead for Trauma Services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Professor Sir Keith Porter.

We are rightly proud of our Notable Alumni.

Senior Vice-President of the World Bank, Sandie Okoro, dressed in graduation gown and tam, holding her honorary degree
Professor Sir Keith Porter dressed in graduation gown and tam, holding his honorary degree
The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith dressed in graduation gown and tam, holding her honorary degree