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Latest equality and diversity newsletter

This short newsletter contains pieces on:

1. International Women's day related events
2. University Athena SWAN update from one of our Deans of Diversity
3. A potential technological fix to combat biases in recruitment
4. The University Cultural Diversity Group and new #DiverseReading blog
5. What to do about harassment

Latest from the Deans of Diversity

Ellie Highwood and Simon Chandler-WildeSince August work has focussed on gender, as a key target for the Deans is to submit a successful application for Institution Bronze Athena Swan award in April 2016. We have new processes to support Schools and Departments applying for Athena awards, giving internal panel review prior to submission. Three schools submitted in November 2015. We have also had targets agreed by the University Executive Board in the three priority areas of gender, race and ethnicity and sexual orientation. This is a major step forward and we are working with University comms to publicise the targets and our first steps to get there over the next few weeks. Much of what we are doing is finding out about and spreading good practice, of which many examples have come from the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences (SMPCS).

Post April, most University and School applications will need to be for the new Gender Charter Mark and we'll be starting work on supporting schools with the additional requirements - namely to include all staff (not just academics). It is likely that mathematical and physical sciences will be the first SET school to submit for the new award in April 2017 and we look forward to working on this. The University is aiming to have one Gold school/department level award by 2020.

Ellie Highwood
January 2016

Equality and Diversity Newsletter archive

Equality and Diversity Newsletter - August 2016(PDF – 142KB)

Equality and Diversity Newsletter - May 2016 (PDF 138KB))

Equality and Diversity Newsletter - February 2016 (PDF – 140KB)

Equality and Diversity Newsletter - October 2015 (PDF – 122KB)

Equality and Diversity Newsletter - May 2015 (PDF – 129KB)

News archive

May 2015 - The first University Diversity and Inclusion seminar - Tuesday 3 May

Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS, University of Cambridge, presented the first of a series of seminars focusing on diversity and inclusion on Tuesday 3 May, in a lecture is entitled Women Progressing, Progressing Women.

Using personal experience and a little well-placed science, Professor Donald discussed how seemingly small culture changes and heightened self-awareness can have a profound effect on team morale and an individual's ability to feel encouraged and supported. Professor Donald is an eminent physicist, working particularly in soft matter physics. She is Professor of Experimental Physics and Master of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, and amongst her many scientific accolades, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999. She has long been an outspoken champion of women in science, chairing the national Athena Forum from 2009-13, an organisation which aims to provide a strategic oversight of developments that seek to, or have proven to, advance the career progression and representation of women in science, technology, mathematics, and medicine (STEM) in UK higher education. Currently she is a member of the BIS Diversity group and the Gender Balance Working Group of the ERC. From 2006-14 she was Director of WiSETI, Cambridge University's Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Initiative, and she was the University's first Gender Equality Champion from 2010-14. She regularly writes on the topic of women in science in both mainstream media and on her personal blog.

November 2015: Calvin Smith was invited as a stakeholder participant to the Equality Champions' Inclusive Workplaces Conference organized by Berkshire Healthcare

August 2015: Ellie Highwood and Simon Chandler-Wilde appointed joint Deans for Diversity and Inclusion

Congratulations to Professors Ellie Highwood and Simon Chandler-Wilde who together have been appointed to the position of Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. This new post has been initiated as a result of the University's ambition to create a more inclusive and diverse environment for students and staff at all levels of the University.

As a 50:50 job share, they will work together across our three priority areas of gender, race, and sexual orientation and gender reassignment with an immediate focus on the submission for the University's Athena SWAN Bronze re-accreditation next spring. SMPS (now SMPCS) successfully retained their Athena SWAN Silver accreditation in 2014.

Ellie Highwood is Professor of Climate Physics in the Department of Meteorology and Simon Chandler-Wilde is currently the Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and has taken up his appointment with effect from January 2016.

Ellie Highwood said: "I am delighted to be taking on this new role as Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and look forward to working with staff and students across the University to ensure that Reading is somewhere that everyone can reach their full potential and feel able to be themselves. I am particularly pleased that I am able to take this leadership position on a part time basis, and I look forward to working with Simon Chandler-Wilde on the many challenges ahead. I hope this will be the first of many shared leadership roles within the University."

Simon Chandler-Wilde added: "I am delighted to have been appointed as the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in a 50-50 job-share with Professor Ellie Highwood. I am looking forward very much to getting to grips with this challenging and important role, working with Ellie and with fellow staff and students across the University. I hope in this role to build on my experience, in my current role as a Head of School, through two successful Athena SWAN Silver Award applications, of getting to grips with a wide variety of equality and diversity issues, as they affect students at all levels, and in all our staff roles."

July 2015: Calvin Smith was an Equality Challenge Unit review panellist for the Race Equality Chartermark and Athena SWAN awards

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