University Athena SWAN activities and updates

Athena SWAN - Gender Equality

Topic: University Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN Bronze renewal submission - Thank You

📥  University Athena SWAN

Thank you to everyone who assisted with our University Athena SWAN Bronze renewal submission.

It was a tremendous team effort and I would like to thank everyone, including the University Self-Assessment Team (USAT), University Executive and Vice-Chancellor's Group. In particular, special thanks to Dr Caroline Harris for all her work in completing the submission.

In a supporting letter to endorse the application, the Vice-Chancellor outlined the significant advances we have made since our last submission in terms of representation and departmental AS engagement:

  • 33% of Associate Deans and 38% of the Vice-Chancellor’s Group are female, significantly higher than the proportion of women in senior academic posts;
  • our influential committees achieved between 33% and 57% women members;
  • there has been an increase in the proportion of female professors, from 10% in 2012/13 to 15% in February 2017;
  • we have exceeded our target of having eight departments achieve Bronze departmental AS awards by 2016;
  • our first departments are working towards Silver awards.

As part of the consultation process we received comments from Faculties, Departments and individual staff members. All of the feedback has resulted in an action plan that is aimed at accelerating the success of our activities. In particular, it tackles the challenge of increasing the proportion of women in some discipline areas and in some senior roles through approaches that will be applied equally where men are under-represented.

Dame Glynis said: "We fully support the AS Charter principles and have been making steady progress. Our new AS action plan launches our swifter trajectory towards the goal of gender equality and I am confident that its implementation will deliver change at a faster pace than we have achieved to date."

So, now we have submitted the application – the real work starts. The USAT met on 28 May to commence our implementation plan. We will keep you updated on how things are progressing!

I hope you have time to read the full submission online.

Remember the USAT welcomes input at any time. If you have thoughts, comments or ideas, please email us at

Professor Linda Newnes
USAT Chair


Quantitative Results with numbers embedded in the charts - Academic Staff

📥  University Athena SWAN

Well, within 24 hours we have had 349 views of the data from our survey.  Some staff have requested the data where the percentages/numbers are embedded in the charts.  So, please see below and you will find the data in a format where

  • The numbers (absolute or percentages) are displayed on the charts - saves you searching the raw data!
  • The results for the strongly agree - strongly disagree questions now have the scores on the doors.  We have also embedded the text for the questions within the graphs.  This should assist you in assessing whether the scores are good, areas to work on etc.
  • The results cover - combined responses, responses presented by gender, Faculty/School and by Grade.

Happy reading


Overall responses for academic staff - numbers embedded in charts

Results for academic staff by gender - numbers embedded in charts

responses academic staff by Faculty and School - numbers embedded in charts

Responses from academic staff by grade - numbers embedded in the charts



Quantitative Results of University Athena SWAN Survey 2016

📥  University Athena SWAN

So, a month ago I provided a summary on the number of responses we had on completion rates for the University and summaries of the numerical results.  We have completed some further analysis to identify whether there are similar views/responses based on Gender, Faculty, School and staff Grades.  The links below provide copies of the results.

The next update will provide details of the qualitative analysis of your comments.  The end sections of the survey enabled staff to provide their views in a number of areas these are being analysed to identify e.g. common themes and to assist in creating an action plan that aligns with staff needs. Once we have the final report identifying the key findings and themes, I will upload these to the blog.

Next Steps - Action Plan - University Wide Consultation

The USAT is in the process of completing a proposed action plan and we will start the consultation process during February 2017.  The Faculty Champions and USAT committee have been very active at gaining input from members of the University and I would like to thank them for all their support so far.  I hope you will assist us further by providing your comments during the consultation process.

As always if you have any comments/thoughts please email the Athena SWAN USAT team at

I hope you enjoy the read.

Linda Newnes

USAT Chair

Responses of Academic Staff by Gender - SWAN Survey 2016

Responses of Academic Staff by Grade - SWAN Survey 2016

Responses of Academic Staff by Faculty & School - SWAN Survey 2016

Responses of PDR Staff by Gender - SWAN Survey 2016

Responses of PDR Staff by Faculty and School - SWAN Survey 2016



University Athena SWAN Survey

📥  University Athena SWAN

As promised see the links below for  summaries of the quantitative results for the recent Athena SWAN surveys. An update on the findings from the qualitative data (comments, suggestions etc) will be posted once the analysis is complete.  You will see in the links an indication of the number of comments we received - so quite a lot to analyse!

Academic and Teaching Staff - Summary of Quantitative Results


Research Staff - Summary of Quantitative Results


Please do email the Athena SWAN USAT ( if you have any questions.

Linda Newnes


Athena SWAN Survey - Data on completion rate

📥  University Athena SWAN

As promised some data from the Athena SWAN Surveys. Just to remind you all, two surveys were undertaken one for Academic & Teaching and one for research staff.  The majority of the questions were similar, however, we did ask specific questions aimed at ascertaining the key wishes/needs for research staff.

In the Academic Staff Survey, 384 (45%) of staff from the email lists completed the survey. For the research staff survey, which included, KTP staff, casual researchers, research staff (research officers, assistants, fellows and officers) and research staff employed through JobLink. 20% of staff on the email lists completed the survey.

The following links provide you with the breakdown of the Faculties/Schools for the staff who completed the survey.

Academic Staff by Faculty Completion Data


I will upload the full quantitative results in my next blog.

The qualitative analysis is currently being undertaken by researchers who specialise in this type of analysis.  The full report is due by the middle of January 2017 and the findings from the analysis will be published.



Academic Staff - University Athena SWAN Survey Launched

📥  University Athena SWAN

Dear all
The first of our University Athena SWAN surveys is underway. All academic staff should have received an email. Please do contribute to the survey. We are asking for your ideas to help guide our action plan for the next four years.

A second survey for Research Staff (Officers, Fellows, Assistants) will be launched next week.

I am really looking forward to seeing the results and putting actions in place which will benefit everyone.

Many thanks in advance for your input.

Linda Newnes
USAT Chair


Culture Survey

📥  University Athena SWAN

The USAT will soon be asking you all to participate in the Athena SWAN culture survey. There will be a survey for academic staff (academics, teaching fellows, prize fellows etc.) as well as a specific Research Fellows/Officers/Assistant survey.

Although we have various statistics we know feedback and input from staff regarding what is working well, what would improve the culture and for staff to have the opportunity to provide their ideas will ensure we set actions for the next four years using quantitative and qualitative data.

I will keep you updated on when the survey is to go live.  In the meantime if you have anything you wish to discuss in terms of the University Athena SWAN activities please do get in touch.


Linda Newnes


USAT Meeting with Vice-Chancellor

📥  University Athena SWAN

emma picture

On the 19th July, six members of the Athena SWAN USAT were given the opportunity to meet with the Vice-Chancellor and discuss progress towards our Athena SWAN objectives. This provided not only an excellent opportunity to highlight the ‘good news stories’ that have been experienced along our journey, but also to consider and reflect on the many challenges that lay ahead.

In particular, our discussions focused on three main priority areas for developing our future approach. These included
(a) better addressing the needs of Post Doctorate Researchers,
(b) addressing the low number of females within senior roles across the university, such as Heads of Department,
(c) the requirement for a cultural shift across the university with, regards to gender equality issues.

The first of these discussion points, namely the needs of Post Doctorate Researchers, represents a new area of focus for the USAT. Discussion of the particular challenges experienced by this staff group was focused predominantly on career development and support issues and how these could be addressed, with a particular focus on improving line management skills and the role of Research Staff Co-ordinators.

In contrast, increasing the number of females in senior university roles has been a consistent goal of the USAT and one that proves difficult to remedy. Encouraging women to develop both management and leadership skills early in their career represents a crucial step in addressing this issue, in order that they feel both confident and empowered to apply for future opportunities that may arise. When considering how to address this within our USAT role, our meeting discussions highlighted the importance of both providing appropriate development opportunities and encouraging women to apply for these opportunities when they arise.

Our final discussion point perhaps represents the thorniest issue to be addressed by the USAT - that of cultural change. The majority of ‘tangible’ issues and impacts that form the primary objectives of the Athena SWAN admission can be linked to the more intangible concept of organisational culture. If gender equality is to be addressed across all roles and departments at the university, then achieving ‘buy-in’ and engagement with the Athena SWAN agenda across the wider university community is vital. In line with this, you are likely to be seeing and hearing a lot more from us in the future!


Dr Emma Williams, Post Doctoral Researcher Representative


American Society of Mechanical Engineers

📥  University Athena SWAN

Well, this week I am in Charlotte North Carolina for the

So, you attend these conferences and in general listen to technical discussions about a particular aspect of Engineering - not the case here!  Research, teaching and equality go hand-in-hand.

What you find is that many people are engaging in the equivalent of SWAN activities, in particular how can you engage schoolchildren with STEM. So, on Sunday I was discussing a girl scout (Brownie age in the UK), Mechanical Engineering badge. Now I know in the UK we have Environment, Designer and Science Investigator badges - but wouldn't it be great to have an Engineering badge? Excellent outreach opportunities as well.  Can we focus our SWAN outreach actions so we have innovative solutions to engage with the wider community?

So, the ex Lockheed Martin employee will be updating me at the end of the year and hopefully we can look at how we can adopt some of their learning within the UK.  Of course for all those that think that Engineers do not have fun, here we are at the NASCAR museum!

Meeting people from across the Globe at ASME

Meeting people from across the Globe at ASME



Time Line for University SWAN submission

📥  University Athena SWAN

We now have just over 7-months before we submit the University SWAN application to maintain our Bronze Award.  We have achieved a lot in the last few years.  The University now has a mentoring scheme for academics at any stage in the career progression - we currently have 69 active pairings across all the three Faculties and School. The Aurora programme has been a great success with 31 participants between 2013-2016, and the programme now has 60 participants, mentors and role models.

Our aim is to continue with this success.

To achieve this, I hope we will get input from many of you regarding where we are, what we are doing well and where we could place more effort.  To date we have some core themes we have identified based on what the data is showing to date.  Our timeline and most importantly ensuring we have the views of members of the University is

  1. July 2016 - Using data, information and knowledge identify the top 5-7 themes for our submission. These are
    • Increase % of female Heads of Department and females in senior Departmental roles.  A clear process is required to get the gender balance right.
    • Increase % of female Professors
    • Retention of female staff
    • Support for post-doctoral researchers
    • Talent pipeline management
    • Part time teaching staff
    • Embedding Athena SWAN in the wider University
    • Supporting Trans people
  2. 13th September 2016 USAT meeting - Identify actions for the core themes using both quantitative and qualitative data.
  3. 26th October USAT Network Meeting - Feed into Core themes and actions.
  4. 1st November 2016 USAT meeting - agree any additional actions based on data and advance action plan.
  5. 15th December 2016 USAT meeting- Draft submission and action plan.
  6. January 2017 - wider consultation of submission
  7. February 2017 - review feedback/comments from consultation
  8. March 2017 - approval of submission by Vice Chancellor Group and University Executive.
  9. 28th April 2017 - SUBMISSION!

As part of the process a number of the USAT members met with the Vice-Chancellor.  Our Post Doctoral researcher Emma will provide the next blog and let you know what we discussed!