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The Athena SWAN Awards recognise success in developing employment practices to further support the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, and math's (STEM) departments in academia.

Independent evaluations have shown that membership of the charter helps to advance women's careers and has had a positive impact on changing the culture and attitudes within member institutions.

Simply put, universities and departments that hold Athena SWAN awards are more advanced in addressing unequal representation than those that don't.

Our School values align closely to the Athena Swan principles. The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences won the Bronze Athena Swan award in 2013, and this was successfully renewed in 2017.

Silver Athena Swan Award in 2021

We were delighted when the School's submission for renewal in 2021 received a Silver Athena Swan Award. In our submission, we were able to show real progress since our previous awards. Interacting with the Athena SWAN process has allowed us to carefully consider well-being, inclusion, diversity, and equality (WIDE) across all practices within the School, and we have used this opportunity to make changes that improve working conditions for all students and members of staff. Our approach to all areas of our work is underpinned by a focus on fairness and transparency: staff and students are treated equally, regardless of seniority, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender.

Since our Bronze Athena Swan award in 2017, we have implemented a series of projects to address areas of real or perceived unfairness in the School. We have reviewed staff contract types, ensuring that all colleagues have access to development and promotion opportunities.

One successful effort focused on colleagues in Grade 6 roles,  most of whom were female, for whom no progression route was available. We recently secured the regrading of many of these colleagues to Grade 7 roles, with others having been provided with feedback on the necessary steps required to achieve a promotion.

We have overhauled the School's workload allocation model to ensure no individual is required to work unreasonable hours.

We have instituted an effective line management/mentoring structure, to ensure every colleague is properly supported.

Additional initiatives contributing to fairness and collegiality include reviewing how School funds and administrative support are allocated to support individuals and establishing a new sabbatical scheme with transparent eligibility criteria.
We were delighted when our efforts in these, and other areas, were recognised with a Silver Athena Swan award in 2021. 

Our action plan

We continue to place importance on the Athena Swan agenda and have put in place an action plan to address outstanding challenges including:

  • Ways to increase the proportion of male students applying for our undergraduate and MSc courses, while continuing to provide strong support for female students in STEM
  • Improving degree outcomes for our male undergraduate students who currently underperform in comparison to female students 
  • Improving access to academic and professional roles for our female PDRAs and RAs by supporting their career development 
  • Signposting the School Family Leave policy so that all members of staff are aware of what is available and understand that providing this does not place additional demands on other staff
  • Encouraging staff and students to work together on our projects to decolonise the curriculum by widening the research cited to include more examples of scholarships, and those with protected characteristics, with emphasis on ethnicity. 

We will be working actively to implement these plans over the next four years. For now, you can see our submitted Athena SWAN plan (PDF, 2 MB) and our progress against our Athena SWAN action plan (PDF, 0.2 MB)

Flexible working

We're enthusiastic about flexible working and keen to consider flexible working requests from our staff. 

Parental leave

Information for staff who are about to take maternity, parental, shared parental, childbirth or adoption leave.

Policies and useful links

Read more about how our School and University support staff health and wellbeing.
Athena SWAN Silver Award