Case study - Cultural Inclusion Council

by University of Queensland
The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching institutions. The University employs the equivalent of approximately 2,800 full-time staff. The University’s main campus is located in Brisbane, Queensland.

Aims of the Cultural Inclusion Council

The UQ Cultural Inclusion Council (CIC, The Council) provides a consultative mechanism for developing and implementing inclusion initiatives focused on culturally and linguistically diverse staff across the University of Queensland (UQ).

We aim to:

  • foster an environment that is respectful and allows for the empowerment of staff from diverse backgrounds
  • establish strong policies in line with legislation that are anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and anti-racism
  • provide resources and programs for the wider UQ community to raise cultural awareness and promote inclusive workplace practices
  • develop and maintain an inclusive environment from staff of diverse backgrounds, along with increasing community connection
  • devise UQ’s first Cultural And Linguistical Diversity Inclusion Strategy.

Diversity of members and how they are appointed

The staff and student representatives of the Council were selected via an expression of interest process and each commits to a minimum of one year on the Council. Members are purposefully selected to ensure gender equity, seniority balance, student representation, diversity of employment type, diverse representation in terms of demographics, areas of focus and different organisations within the University of Queensland.

There is no fixed number of members, however, it is written into the Terms of Reference that certain organisations within the University are represented, including: The Indigenous Staff Network, Student Services, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, School of Languages and Culture and others. To help ensure the University’s commitment to intersectionality, we also endeavour to have representation from other diversity committees including the Gender Steering Committee and the Ally Action Committee.

Members are expected to attend all CIC meetings. If a member misses three or more meetings, without a valid reason such as being sick, then they will be at risk of losing their membership on the CIC.

How members are remunerated or have their workloads otherwise adjusted

Members of the Cultural Inclusion Council volunteer their time from within their substantive roles. When they go through the Expression of Interest (EOI) process, they verify that their supervisor is aware of their EOI and has approved. The EOI application makes clear the time commitment and therefore, supervisors should be aware, when agreeing to ‘release’ the staff member to meet the time commitment, that the staff member will be undertaking CIC related work from time to time.

This commitment is recognised in different ways, depending on whether the staff member is Academic or Professional, as Citizenship and Service embedded in the Academic Performance Framework, or via the Recognition and Development Plan process for Professional staff.

Accountability and transparency

The administration of the Council is facilitated through a core Secretariat, made up of Chair, Deputy Chair and Secretary, as well as a standing membership for a representative from Workplace Diversity and Inclusion.

The work of the CIC is overseen through quarterly meetings with an Executive Champion, who is a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee (VCC) and who acts as a conduit between the CIC and the most senior levels of the University.

The CIC, through the Executive Champion, may send matters to the VCC for consideration and endorsement/approval. Matters are also regularly sent to the Senate Committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, where the CIC Chair sits as an observer and where the VC is an active member, for noting/information or for endorsement via quarterly reports.

The Council is currently drafting the first ever Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Inclusion Strategy, which will have the above structure built in, as well as a regular reporting mechanism which will further the mutual accountability of the Council and the UQ Community’s commitment to the aims of the Council. In line with the other diversity committees, these reports will be uploaded to the University website and available to both internal and external stakeholders.

Any outputs to date

  • An active forum made up of a diverse representation of countries, languages, genders, locations, schools, faculties, and institutes.
  • Guiding the work of the Warm Welcome Program, which partners incoming international staff members with members of staff to support the transition to UQ and Australia.
  • Events/online ‘hub pages’ to highlight days of significance such as International Anti-Racism/Harmony Day and Refugee Week.
  • Providing input into Training: Aside from the mandatory Appropriate Workplace Behaviours training, we also offer online and practical modules on Unconscious Bias, online modules on Culture and Core Inclusion (as well as other Diversity & Inclusion training) and Managing a Diverse Team. 
  • Our general cultural and linguistic diversity page, which has several resources.
  • Webpage (with resources) on Refugee and Asylum Seeker Experiences.
  • We realised that the Council is made up of experts in cultural and linguistic diversity inclusion, so we have embedded staff development into our meeting agendas and invite one member to give a brief presentation on their area of expertise at each meeting. Where members would like to know more about areas outside of our expertise, the CIC invites other UQ Researchers to present to us.

In process

  • A multi-year, multi-stakeholder Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Inclusion Strategy
  • Providing input into the UQ Guide to inclusive meetings and committees
  • Providing input into the UQ Guide to inclusive events
  • UQ Celebrating Cultural Diversity Calendar
  • Updating the webpage to be more comprehensive and useful to people outside of the CIC
  • Creating a Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Community of Practice on Teams and in person (depending on appetite/capacity for leadership of a face-to-face CoP)


More information is available at