Supporting women in science
7 October 2011
Outreach activities that promote women in science and ways of supporting new staff members were just two of the areas singled out for praise by judges who awarded the School of Psychology a national accolade for its good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women.
The School is now one of three within the University to have received an Athena Swan Award. The Athena Swan Charter recognises excellence in science, engineering and technology employment in higher education and commends good practice for women working in these areas.
Professor Terry Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Staff and Diversity said: “Achieving Athena Swan recognition takes a lot of very hard work, but it is constructive, self-reflective work which makes us all take a good hard look at our School and University cultures and think about the unconscious forms of gender bias embedded within them. I am delighted that the School of Psychology has been awarded a Bronze Award. Athena Swan is now 'core' business for the University since the Research Excellence Framework includes it as a measure of research environment.”
The Awards committee praised the School's record for promoting women, the support it gives to staff returning to work after absence and the approach to career development advice for research staff. The range of outreach activities the School supports was also recognised – the School has seven female Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) ambassadors.
The committee also commended the way that the School promotes communication and integration, which includes a buddy system for all new staff, School support for informal meetings over tea and cakes for post-graduates and academic staff, and a rolling series of 'getting to know you' visits where research groups inform support staff about their work. The School was also praised for assessing staff attitudes using an on-line cultural survey that was tailored to the profile of the School.
Professor Rob Honey, Deputy Head of the School of Psychology said:"We are delighted to receive an Athena Swan award, which recognizes our ongoing efforts to ensure that the School of Psychology provides an environment that is both equitable and excellent. The team that led our application is to be applauded for the enthusiasm and rigour that they brought to the process."
In 2009, Cardiff University was one of only 19 universities nationwide to have been awarded a prestigious bronze award under the Charter for its commitment to women in science. The School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies and the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences also received bronze and silver Athena SWAN charter in 2010.