The FINANCIAL -- Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is today, 8 May, celebrating earning a prestigious Athena SWAN silver award for the second time which recognises its progress in addressing gender and other inequalities in academia.
The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) made the announcement following rigorous assessment, including external peer review and extensive internal self-assessment by the School.
The School first achieved silver award status in 2014. The Athena SWAN scheme was expanded to take a wider view of diversity in 2015 and today’s accolade reflects the School’s hard work in meeting the extended criteria, according to Aston University.
Professor Robert Berry, who led the School’s submission, said: “The Athena SWAN awards are the national benchmark reflecting how well higher education institutions are tacking the issue of equal representation.
“The School of Engineering and Applied Science has worked for many years to identify and address barriers to the progression of women, earning the Athena Swan Silver award in 2014. We have continued to implement initiatives to support the principles and were pleased to see the programme broadened in 2015 to take a wider view of diversity and recognition for the support and development of all staff.”
“I am particularly proud of our School’s leadership role in diversity for Aston University, with many initiatives adopted in other Schools and at University level,” he added. “These include planning for standards for central service data provision to support managers making decisions around diversity, new University-level policies for guaranteeing maternity cover for all positions and for ensuring committees and leadership teams reflect the diversity of our community, as well as the development of a reporting system that recognises and values the work of all staff.”
He explained that the School had established an engineering equality and diversity group responsible for raising awareness of diversity issues and initiating innovative projects to identify and remove barriers to individual achievement. All new initiatives were evaluated before being implemented School-wide and progress reported on a monthly basis.
Work to enhance diversity in the School encompasses initiatives for students, including the Aston Progression Pathway - a two-day residential course for local A-Level students to explore engineering subjects; courses in computer science and mathematics and master classes for A-Level students in engineering disciplines.