Hello, Goodbye (belated, thanks to a global pandemic)

Posted in: Blogpost

*This blog was written by JFW in January, and has been edited and is being published by SB in September.

Thanks to The Beetles for providing the soundtrack for the first E&D blog of 2020. (And to the global pandemic for seeing to it that this is being published in September rather than January)

These days we're finding ourselves (hopefully) having more and more conversations about equality, diversity and inclusion—so what better time to re-launch this blog. It also marks significant ‘moment’ in our E&D journey as: 1) the Athena SWAN Silver Application was submitted, and we have been reconferred a Bronze, 2) the new E&D Committee has been formed, and 3) Jess headed off on maternity leave and Sheree took the helm.

The aim of this blog is to provide a sense of clarity and purpose about who we are, what the E&D strategy for the Department is, what we’ve been doing well and where improvements can be made. By setting out this clear position and joined-up narrative we hope to take you with us on our journey, to help you understand how your everyday actions impact our Departmental outcomes and the community we hope to build.

You say goodbye and I say hello

As Jess says goodbye to the Director of E&D role for a year, Sheree says hello. Reflecting a future planning action to increase the number of ‘Deputy Directors/Chairs’ on decision-making committees, groups and centres (to impact gender balance, manage workloads and increase leadership opportunities), Sheree will continue in the role of Deputy Director of E&D once Jess returns.

We are supported by an enthusiastic committee who represent the diversity of specialisms within our Department:

Director: Jessica Francombe-Webb

Deputy-Director: Sheree Bekker

Staff Survey Lead: Jean-Philippe Walhin

Research Staff Lead: Simon Roberts

Academic Staff Lead: Stephanie Merchant

Teaching Specialist Lead: Lana Evans

E&D Network Representative: Elena Seminati

Social Media/Marketing Role: Stephanie Merchant

Technician Representative: Andreas Wallbaum/Mark Thomas

Professional Services Staff Representative: Lucy Gaffney

Post-Graduate Representative: Aodhagán Conlon

Undergraduate Representative: tbd

Head of Department: Fiona Gillison

Faculty Representatives: Sarah Ibbitson and Jennifer Thompson


You say why . . .

Why, why, why, why, why, why

All members of the E&D Committee are committed to creating and promoting an inclusive culture for all staff and students. These values should underpin all we do.

Have you heard of the 9 Protected Characteristics? These are identified by the Equality and Human Rights Act and inform our strategy for maximizing the experiences of all staff and students irrespective of gender; age; disability; gender reassignment; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation; marriage and civil partnership; and pregnancy and maternity.

As a committee, we are currently working on a new Departmental Equality and Diversity Strategy, including an Action Plan. Whilst a large part of our focus is always on gender, we are also committed to broader initiatives from this year onwards, specifically related to holding space for intersectionality. This means that we are looking at initiatives related to the Race Equality Charter, the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, and the acknowledgement, addressing, and redressing of harms related to other protected characteristics.

We are continuously looking for ways to impact and create change at the intersections of gender and the other protected characteristics. For this, we need your help! The E&D Committee can start the conversations but we want you to share your thoughts, ask those questions, get involved, participate in the dialogue.

More formally, JP Walhin is leading on developing our staff survey for 2020, and this will be an anonymous way for you to provide your insight and feedback. So please do look out for that when it opens.

This blog will be a starting point for this, but we also encourage you to reach out to any one on the Committee, we aren’t a scary bunch

You say stop

And I say go, go, go

It’s nearly time for me (Jess) to stop . . . typing, working . . .

But before I do, I want to incentivize you to help us achieve our vision for a more equal and diverse Department. So let’s take a quick look at the amazing things we have achieved in the last 5 years, and where we need to focus now.

Looking back at our Bronze award we had a clear gender gap between the ratio of women and men on our academic staff. Our concerted actions in relation to both recruitment and promotions have seen a reduction in this gap:

  • At Lecturer and Reader level we now have gender equality.
  • The percentage of women professors has increased to 40% from 25%.
  • The 1st woman Head of Department in our 21 year history.

Key priorities for us going forward include:

  • Improving the gender balance on decision-making committees
  • Introducing deputy chair roles for centres/groups and substantive committees to provide an auditable and sustainable increase in women’s leadership within our succession planning
  • Developing a promotion strategy for staff on part-time contracts and returning from career breaks (we have a new maternity/paternity leave re-induction process), who are underrepresented in promotions data and also tend to be women.
  • Determine best-practice recruitment strategies (we have a new statement for inclusion on all new job adverts) that are inclusive and maximize applications across all under-represented groups.

All that remains is for you to put the kettle on and wait to hear more about upcoming plans that we have as a committee going forwards.

More soon.

Hela, goodbye, hello

Hela, goodbye, hello

Hela, heba helloa

Posted in: Blogpost