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The University of Westminster becomes the first UK university to appoint in-house Secular Adviser

19 July 2016

University of Westminster Faith and Spirituality team

The University of Westminster has appointed Isabel Millar to join the University’s established Faith and Spirituality team as Secular Adviser. This is the first time a UK institution has appointed an in-house staff secular adviser.

The position was created in recognition of the growing importance placed on mutual understanding between diverse groups of people, and of the University’s role as a multicultural institution encouraging dialogue and providing support to our communities on and around campus.

Isabel’s role provides not only secular educational support at an academic and corporate level but also non-religious pastoral care for students.

The position of Secular Adviser confirms the direction and commitment of the University’s Faith and Spirituality service to promote constructive dialogue between students and staff of all faiths and none.

The University of Westminster’s Faith and Spirituality team, headed by Interfaith Adviser Yusuf Kaplan, has expanded to welcome Isabel and David Morris as Assistant Interfaith Adviser.

Speaking of her appointment, Isabel Millar said: “My new role as Secular Adviser is an exciting and crucial development. I will be providing a non-religious ethical perspective with regard to social, cultural and political issues in the context of a multi-faith and culturally-diverse institution.

“My role commences with developing a project on values, which supports freedom of speech and expression in a liberal yet critically minded community. And also I have plans for an intersectionality training scheme: engaging issues around race, class, culture and sexuality. I hope to facilitate open debate on controversial issues affecting the student body, introducing key aspects of the psychosocial approach to understand power relations and belief systems. This will enable people to explore conflicting or challenging viewpoints in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”

Isabel Millar is a PhD candidate at the London Graduate School at Kingston University. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Sussex University, an MA in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck University of London and has worked in print and television journalism. Isabel is also one of the first cohort of pastoral support volunteers trained by the British Humanist Association.

Image left to right: Yusuf Kaplan, Isabel Millar, David Morris.

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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