Women in Leadership – EHSU Women’s Week!

noNJh1MFAs a part of EHSU’s Women in Leadership campaign, & to celebrate Women’s Week, we asked some senior members of university staff about their experiences of being a woman in their positions.

Next up is Fay Sherrington who is the Director of Student Services.


I feel like I have been very fortunate in my career as I have rarely faced barriers due to my gender.  I have been inspired by both male and female leaders that I have worked for and I owe thanks to a number of people who have motivated and encouraged me on my career path.  I believe that one of the barriers faced by me and others in terms of leadership is a lack of self-belief or self-confidence.  Although this will apply to individual men and women differently, studies have suggested that generally this is a more significant factor for women than for men.  Making full use of my mentors, development opportunities, feedback, and support has really helped me to recognise my abilities and take the next step. 

When I look back over history I realise how different things would have been for me if I had lived during earlier generations.  I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a family that is open minded and without prejudice and at a time when gender inequality had significantly reduced.  I was encouraged by my parents to work hard, be what I wanted to be, go to University and aim for the top.  I really hope that the further progress that has since been made to reduce inequality across the board means that the generation of young people behind me will face even fewer barriers to success. 

My mum has always been the women I most admire.  She was from a generation when women were not encouraged to go to University.  In fact we lived in York where Rowntrees Chocolate factory were previously a major employer.  My mum always told me that her mother hoped she might gain employment at the chocolate factory.  However her mother’s aspiration was that if she was good enough, she might be able to work in the offices rather than on the factory floor.  That was really the most she expected from her daughter and her highest aspiration for her career.  When my sister and I were young my mum decided to study for a degree via the Open University while bringing up 2 kids looking after the household and working full time.  I always admire her grit and determination and her success in getting her degree followed by a postgraduate qualification.  I can’t help thinking how different it has been for me. 

Working in HE is a privilege and I really love my job leading a Student Service department.  I am sure that this positive environment has helped me in my leadership path.  The various Universities I have worked in and my managers have all supported my leadership development and I have made the most of many opportunities to try new things.  I attended the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) Aurora programme for Women in Leadership in 2012 and was inspired and motivated to take the next step in my career.  This was the point when I recognised my aspiration to become a Director of Service and the programme gave me the confidence and support to apply for the role I hold today. 

2 inspirational female authors hold significance for me.  Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth were books I read as a teenager that moved me and changed my outlook on the world.  Their experiences in their time and culture paint such an emotive picture of the inequality and injustice of the world but also show the power and resilience of the women themselves.  I feel indebted to women like Maya and Vera but also all other female leaders who have gone before me for making it possible for me to be who I am today. 



We know that women have a hard time smashing the glass ceiling and getting into senior positions or leadership roles. That is why it’s important to talk about the disadvantages that women face, and work on ways to overcome them. Having women in positions of leadership is important, because it’s difficult to be what you cannot see.

Women in Leadership – EHSU Women’s Week!


As a part of EHSU’s Women in Leadership campaign, & to celebrate Women’s Week, we asked some senior members of university staff about their experiences of being a woman in their positions.

First up is Lynda Brady, the only woman member of Edge Hill’s directorate team. She is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) & University Secretary.


  1. What are the biggest differences noticed in being a woman in leadership compared to the male colleagues?

Obviously I’ve only ever experienced it from one perspective so it’s difficult to know. I would always advocate having leadership teams comprised of different skills and preferences and teams made up of both genders are likely to have a more diverse skills set but it doesn’t always divide on gender lines. I’ve worked with some incredibly sensitive and supportive men and with some very tough, task-focused, insensitive women so I’m wary of stereotyping. Generally speaking though, I’d say women encourage greater reflection and consideration of the broader impacts of decisions, especially how they may impact on colleagues. 

  1. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? 

The most significant barrier is still likely to be the practical one: that it’s difficult to be a woman in leadership whilst also being the primary carer for children or other dependents and there is still an expectation that the role of carer is predominately a female one. For me, the solution is two-fold: on a very practical level, we need to improve childcare and social care provision, making it financially accessible for all (this isn’t only about women in leadership but about enabling women in general to remain in employment, thereby sustaining financial independence); at a more fundamental level, we need to address the assumptions that are made about gender roles at a very early age so children don’t grow up with preconceptions about what is and is not possible as a result of gender – but this is a very long term solution. I also think it’s crucial to engage men in this debate as they are as much a key to solving it as are women. 

  1. What women inspire you and why?

Women like my wonderful Mum inspire me: bringing up 7 children;  holding down 2 cleaning jobs, one in the morning and one in the evening, to ensure she was at home to have tea on the table every day when we got home from school. There are millions of such women, making enormous sacrifices in their own lives, in the hope that the next generation will have different opportunities and a better life – rarely a day goes by when I don’t count my own blessings because of the sacrifices my Mum made in her life. 

  1. What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you 

I’m more concerned about class divides than gender divides. Women & men from wealthy backgrounds, with access to University educations and good connections will be fine. But I worry about the growing economic divide; this includes the increase in tuition fees and the fact that this may deter those from poorer backgrounds thinking University is a real option for them. Without any doubt, going to University transformed my life and opened up a whole world of opportunity for me – enabling everyone to reach their potential in this way is vital, not only for personal fulfillment but also to ensure a fully functioning society which is equipped to compete in a global economy.


We know that women have a hard time smashing the glass ceiling and getting into senior positions or leadership roles. That is why it’s important to talk about the disadvantages that women face, and work on ways to overcome them. Having women in positions of leadership is important, because it’s difficult to be what you cannot see.

What did YOU vote for?!

Hey guys,

What a crazy few months it’s been! From celebrating World Mental Health Day, to fighting for free education at the National Demo, to getting you guys informed at Housing Week just before Christmas. Today saw the fantastic success of Edge Hill’s first ever Pride March, with students from all across the university marching to show their support for the LGBT+ community. We LOVE engaged students and one of our great events in the new year has been our Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM). This saw the highest turnout at our Union’s AMM to date and we sure had a lot to talk about!

For those not in the know, AMM is basically an opportunity for any and all Edge Hill students to submit motions on what they think would make our University (and union!) better. Then any and all students are also invited to come and debate then vote on the motions put forward. All of these are then taken to our Exec Committee (all the officers) to be actioned. Easy peasy!

Below I have listed a little overview for you guys of each motion that was passed, but the full set of minutes will be published here. And of course our door is always open (upstairs in the hub), if you’d like to come and have a more in depth chat about any of the items, and anything else as well!

**Please note that this list is a reflection of the motions as they were passed at AMM -where amendments were made (and voted for), some may differ from original proposals**

  1. Puppy Rooms – an idea suggested by more than one of our students to host puppy rooms on campus for students to come and play with. It can relieve students from anxiety and also can socialise puppies training to be guide dogs, win win!
  2. Rolled over Catering credit – a suggestion to lobby the university to adopt a scheme where leftover catering credit is either rolled over refunded, hopefully leaving catered students feeling a little less out of pocket.
  3. Keep Wednesday Afternoons Free – policy to support our ongoing commitment to keeping Wednesday afternoons free for students to play sport or get involved in extracurricular activities. Woo student experience!
  4. Postgraduate Students Policy – an item to ensure we make commitments to having activities and services on campus that accommodate post grad students who might not be interested in typical “fresher” stuff.
  5. Trans & Non-Binary Officer – Another idea again suggested by a few students that would add another liberation officer to our team, increasing representation for transgender and non-binary students.
  6. Prices in the SUBar – For the Union to do some research and ask students what sorts of drinks deals they’d like to see.
  7. Free Film Friday – Increase the variety of films shown on Free Film Fridays and give more publicism to the votes.
  8. Ice Rink – To lobby the university for an ice rink on campus, giving us more variety as well as something the public can use too.
  9. Indoor Hockey Opportunities – Lobby the University to provide better opportunities for indoor hockey.
  10. Enhance the Gym – To work alongside the university to make the gym more inclusive, look at a Boxing Gym, and ask for the glass around the pool to be frosted (or similar so that passers by can’t see in).
  11. Launderette Costs – asking the union to look at practices that will make the launderette easier, better and where possible cheaper for students. (*A lot is already in motion about this – look out for updates in our upcoming blogs!*)
  12. Autonomy for Liberation Campaigns – a proposal to create Liberation Committees to support the work of, and hold to account each of our liberation officers.
  13. Increase Student Governor Representation – To lobby the university to add another student governor position to the board of governors (the highest board in the university) with the hopes for wider representation and a bigger student voice.
  14. Sports Congress – Create a sports congress made up of two members of every SU sports team, chaired by the VP Activities, increasing consultation that can increase the quality of sports we provide.

So lots of wonderful ideas to instigate some really great changes on campus! Exec Committee will be meeting this coming Monday (Feb 13th) and discussing how all of these will be taken forward. But just a little note from all of us at EHSU to say thank you very much for every who submitted policies, came along or just supported motions. Unions are run by students for students and it’s great to see so many people involved. That’s all from us for now, so have a wonderful weekend and watch this space to see how all of this unravels!!

Your officer team :)

W.E.B DuBois

“There is in this world no such forces as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained”

William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois (Feb. 23, 1868 – Aug. 27, 1963) is remembered as a civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor and poet.

  • Du Bois was one of the founding members of the Niagara Movement. Established in 1905, the movement earned its name because it stood as a symbol of the mighty current of change coming in regards to segregation and racism. The small organization was a precursor to the NAACP, which was formed in 1909.
  • In 1895, Du Bois became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The following year, he enrolled as a doctoral student at one of Berlin’s oldest universities, Friedrich-Wilhelms University, which is now called Humboldt University. He was given an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt in 1958.
  • He introduced the concept of the “talented tenth” in an essay published in September 1903. The talented tenth were considered Black elites who had the responsibility and duty to better the lives of less fortunate African-Americans.
  • In 1900, Du Bois was a leader of the first Pan-African Conference in London. He also led four other Pan-African Congresses held from 1919 to 1927.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois and fellow Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey had ideological differences that focused on the debate of integration vs. separation. However, they both cared about Africa and were committed to the cause of African prosperity.
  • In 1961, Du Bois moved to Ghana. He started work on the Encyclopedia Africana to serve as a resource on Africans and people of African descent throughout the world.
  • During his lifetime, Du Bois wrote 21 books and edited 15 others, and he published more than 100 essays and articles. In 1903, Du Bois published his seminal work, a collection of 14 essays titled The Souls of Black Folk.
  • The site of the boyhood home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Du Bois grew up became a National Historic Landmark in 1979.


World Mental Health Day


Today (Monday 10th October 2016) is World Mental Health Day. It can be guaranteed that we all know at least one person with some form of mental illness. So many people go through a constant battle on a daily basis with their own mind. Remember, that not all illnesses can be seen physically.

In addition to all the fantastic events planned for the day, I have put together some thoughts and top tips for self-care…


First Week Fears!

Starting university can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. It’s natural to feel nervous or overwhelmed during the first few weeks at university, and it can be a while before you feel like you’ve found your feet.

It’s easy to feel down after the whirlwind and non-stop experience of your first few weeks. Jam-packed with activities, events and now lectures, research and coursework. When you finally have time to sit down on your own and think about everything, it can be overwhelming.

A really important thing to realize is that you’re entering a supportive community where students and staff are working to make sure that things go smoothly and if you run into any difficulties, remember that there are lots of people who are there to support you, from the Students’ Union Welfare Officer…yes thats me :)  and student advice services, such as our fantastic SU Advice Centre, to fellow students who can point you in the right direction.

Feeling pressured to drink?

University life in general is associated with the pressure to drink alcohol, and the misconception that you need to drink to have fun. This needn’t be the case! For some people nights out and drinking are synonymous, however they don’t have to be. You don’t need to order alcoholic drinks at the bar – if you would rather stick with soft drinks, do so and don’t let people make you doubt your decision. If nights out are something you would rather not fill your week with there are plenty of alternatives, joining a society or a sports club is a great place to start. The preconception that university life has to involve going out and drinking too much is just a myth.

Look after yourself!

In the chaos and novelty of university life it’s easy to forget about looking after yourself, in terms of both your physical and mental health. As welcome events settle down and you find yourself with more time, you’ll have the opportunity to step back and organise your daily life. Here are some key things to think about:

Getting into a regular sleeping pattern

Try to get to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day – and avoid sleeping in too late at the weekend.  Getting enough sleep at a time your body is used to will set you up for the day ahead!

Eating as healthily as you can

Getting your nutrients and eating food which sustains your energy through the day will make you feel much better than constantly drinking caffeine and buying takeaways.

But what if I can’t cook, I hear you cry?
Cooking is much easier than you might think – it’s ultimately a matter of following instructions – so the main thing to do is find some easy and healthy recipes to make in your student kitchen.

Getting some exercise!

Exercise helps you sleep well, helps you feel energized, and boosts feelings of well being. A brisk walk or jog a few times a week will set you on track for greater feelings of well being. Joining a society, sports team, or outdoor activity may help you to integrate exercise into your weekly routine.

Leaving time to relax

It’s not a good idea to be busy all the time! Having some time to wind down and recharge is key to maintaining positive mental wellbeing. Read a book, take a walk, have a bath – if anything, it’ll make you more productive when you are busy doing activities. Above all, it’s the best way to head off rising anxiety levels.

It’s time to stop looking at mental illness as an individual problem.

You are not alone!

BHM – Mary Jackson by Rosie McKenna

Mary Jackson was among a group of female scientists behind some of the biggest advances in aeronautics. In 1940 just 2% of black women got a university degree, and more than half of them became teachers. This didn’t stop Jackson from joining NACA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would later become the organisation known today as NASA).

Jackson’s work underpinned some of the biggest advances in aeronautics, during some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – including World War II, the cold war, & the space race. It’s often forgotten that it was a team of all-female, all-black mathematicians working on the early technology which has enabled the biggest discoveries about outer space. (To see more about that, there’s a film coming out later this year called Hidden Figures, which tells the story of Jackson & her colleagues.)

Despite being hired by NACA as a part of this team, Jackson faced abhorrent racism in the workplace. People of Colour where separated from their white counterparts in which bathrooms they could use, what offices they could work in, & which tables they could sit at in the canteen. Advancing to work directly with the aeronautical teams or into management positions was almost impossible. & yet the black women that made up the team that Jackson was a part of were crucial to a moment that is held as one of the most iconic in human history, putting man on the moon.

Mary Jackson was also a trailblazer in the Women’s rights movement. She educated Black Women in her field on how to advance in their careers, on how to go from being mathematicians to being engineers, something which she herself had done. She also worked for the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs as the Federal Women’s Program Manager, & the Affirmative Action Program Manager.


Rosie McKenna (Women’s Officer)

Eartha Kitt

As some of you may have noticed, at the start of this week, we added our first image of BHM to the bridge and asked ‘do you know who I am?’. For those of you who don’t know, our first inspirational person was Eartha Kitt…



Dr Einstein was not successful in school, but he found something in the air from his own imagination and his own brain power, and look what he did.

Eartha Kitt is a well-known activist, Youth Worker, LGBT Rights advocate and a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Whilst still being highly influential in various industries through acting, singing, dancing and cabaret. As a woman of mixed race heritage, this caused her to be excluded from society at such a young age, which led to her mother sending her away at the age of eight, where she lived with an aunt on a cotton field. However, this was the start of her amazing career. Later being nominated for three Tony Awards, two Grammys and two Emmy Awards.

Alongside her talents, she also invested a lot of time in the 50’s and 60’s to helping young children stay out of trouble, clean up the streets and prevent juvenile delinquency. Following into the 80’s where she continued with her civil rights movement, focusing on same sec marriage, something that she strongly believed was a civil right.









Sherry Tebs (BME Officer)

Do you know who I am?

Hi all,

So… October is already upon us and here at the Students’ Union we wanted to start this month off explaining some of the things we have going on around campus, that you should look out for.

For those of you who don’t know, October is Black History Month in the UK. Throughout this month, many people throughout the nation celebrate and recognize key and inspirational individuals or historic events from the BME community. The focus is around those who have pushed and fought for an improved society, contributed to the development and progression of governments as well as people as a whole. During this month, we give attention to those who have led the way, from those who achieved the right for black people to vote, to those who inspire us and perform in art, sport and culture.

Throughout this month, we here at the Students’ Union, led by Sherry (our BME Officer, see picture above) will be looking to achieve a number of things. We hope to increase awareness, encompass a brief history, and celebrate some of the cultures held by different BME groups.

During the month, we will highlight and pay tribute to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to a more equal world, where racial discrimination and segregation do not play a part. Each week, we will consider key politicians, doctors, lawyers and other professionals who worked toward liberation. Many of our sports teams and societies also have amazing campaigns planned, all looking to raise awareness, so be sure to look out for them.

As you walk through the hub, you may see some faces begin to appear on our bridge. Our question is ‘do you know who I am?’. We want you to think about who that person is, what they are famous for and some things they have achieved.


Our first blog is on Martin Luther King.



Martin Luther King is perhaps one of the most well known, non-violent leaders in BME History. Through powerful speeches and inspirational words, he was at the forefront of change in America for African-American Civil rights. Time’s Person of the year in 1963, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Some of his major accomplishments include

  • Leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • First president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Led the Birmingham Campaign making change to many discriminatory laws
  • Instrumental in the great march on Washington
  • Delivering powerful speeches including “I have a dream” to over 250,000 people – polled in 1999 by scholars as the top American speech
  • Behind African-Americans getting basic civil rights such as the right to vote and desegregation
  • Youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Became a symbolic leader of African Americans


Free food?!

T’was the friday before Welcome, when all through uni;

Not a timetable ungiven, not even P.E.

The banners were hung across campus with care;

In hopes that new students, soon would be there.

Cheese aside, hey guys! There’s now less than 48 hours to go till the start to the new term,brad-pit i.e. get hyped!

Both here at the union, and across the university, the very final prep is being made to bring back the best thing about Edge Hill – our students. Whether it’s your first day, or your third year, we can’t wait to have you here, and there really is something for everyone to get stuck into across the next week. Not only night-time events in the club, but activities during the day you can bring friends and family along to too! As you will have seen, our Welcome Week line-up has been announced (see here – edgehillsu.org.uk/welcome), and the response has been amazing.

pizzaIt was such a pleasure for us to meet so many of you yesterday at Welcome Thursday, our event for those residing off-campus to come and enroll. There was free pizza, free icecream, free popcorn, and of course tonnes of amazing students filled with enthusiasm!  (But nothing tastes quite as good as free food…don’t worry guys, plenty more on Sunday!).

These days where we get to spend time with you, find out how it’s going and hear what you want to see, is what our job is all about. We want to hear your voice, and relay that in our work, and with the introduction of the ‘Your Ideas’ platform on our website, we are making your voice bigger every day. your-ideas

If you’re not familiar with ‘Your Ideas’, it’s time to clue up! EHSU loves feedback, and we build on everything we receive. We do this because we want your time here to be as fantastic as possible. At any time in the year you can submit an idea. Providing it’s legal, we’ll put it up for students to vote for or against and even leave comments. Your idea will stay up for 30 days and if it has at least 30 votes with a majority in favour, it’ll go to the relevant meeting to see how to move forward!

In the meantime, I know many of you have burning questions on a multitude of issues, so I’ve popped a little list below with some things you might find useful!

Sports and Societies – All their details can be found on our website below, and they’ll all be at our welcome fair this wednesday (21/09/16) to meet, greet, answer questions and help you if you’d like to sign up!


Advice and Support – if things changed and something didn’t worked out as planned – money, housing, your course or absolutely anything else you want to talk about, our free advice service is here, year round, to help you out!


email suadvice@edgehill.ac.uk  or call 01695 657301

Getting Started Packs – Hopefully you will have received all this in emails or post, but we all lose track of things sometimes so here’s a link to all the ‘Getting Started’ guides put together by the University.


Student finance – SFE (Student Finance England) has produced a guide that (hopefully) covers anything you might be unsure of.


That’s all from me for now, but I look forward to seeing you all back on campus next week, and any issues, questions or concerns, do get in touch so we can help you out.



Your VP Academic, Rachel :)