The School was awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award in 2013. The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education. Currently, Queen's University Belfast holds an Institutional Silver Award. The School's Gender Equality Office is leading the implementation of the Action Plan.
The Annual Lecture is hosted by the Gender Equality Office and is open to all staff. A keynote speaker is invited to give a lecture incorporating their own career journey and highlights of their academic profile and research. As part of the event, career planning workshops over coffee are held with the keynote speaker, PhD students, Postdocs and early career academic staff followed by a networking lunch with all attendees. The Lecture is followed by a Question and Answer session and informal networking.
The Buddy Scheme is open to final year female and male PhD students who are 'buddied up' with a post-doctoral researcher to meet twice a year for a cup of coffee, an informal chat and useful tips on how to incorporate career planning into a busy final year, alongside thesis writing. It is particularly helpful for final year PhD students who would appreciate someone to talk to about what life is like for post-docs and how to prepare for that transition.
'Meet the Professor' Lunches are informal lunches that are held twice yearly to facilitate social and Professional interactions between female PhD students and Professorial staff. We are keen that our PhD students have inspirational role models at this stage of their career to inspire their own career planning. The lunches are semi-structured, with a Professor and a small group of students at each table to facilitate conversation and to ensure that all students have the opportunity to discuss matters of interest with a Professor. Each Professor shares a brief outline of their own career path which the students find interesting and encouraging.
WeCAN events are held four times throughout the academic year with the purpose of:
- Promoting professional and social interactions among female academics
- Providing support and guidance for female academics
- Exploring training opportunities for early career academics and researchers
- Creating awareness of and providing opportunities to discuss issues that affect women's academic career development and success
- Providing opportunities to share strategies for dealing with academic life and work-life balance
The WeCAN events are popular with academic and research staff with many of our PhD students now attending. Each event starts with an informal networking lunch, followed by the speaker's presentation and develops into an open discussion. Previous topics include "Imposter Syndrome", "Juggling Career and Family - Can Women really have it All?" and "Role Models".
The Workshadowing Scheme is open to staff at Key Transition Points who wish to gain insight into the next step. It is aimed at: postdoctoral staff considering progression to research fellowships or academic posts; Lecturer to Senior Lecturer; SL to Reader and Reader to Professor.
Individually tailored packages are developed for staff in consultation with supervisors (for postdoctoral staff), Centre Directors and the Head of School. An insight into the roles of appropriate staff at more senior levels is available through shadowing selected aspects of their roles.
The pilot scheme was completed in 2013 / 2014 and the Scheme will be launched on a larger scale for 2014 / 2015.