The Department of Environment and Geography is committed to ensuring that all members of staff achieve their full potential in a supportive and flexible work environment.
We have enthusiastically adopted the Athena SWAN charter of good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in Universities. We were delighted to receive the Bronze Athena SWAN Award in 2014 in recognition of the support we offer to all staff in the Department. To support the career development needs of all staff, we advocate flexible and part-time working patterns where possible, and provide mentoring and regular performance reviews.
Department of Environment and Geography Bronze Award
The Department of Environment and Geography Bronze Award submission documents are available from the University Research Athena Swan pages.
Bronze department awards recognise that in addition to university-wide policies, the department has identified particular challenges and is planning activities for the future. This includes: an assessment of where the department is regarding gender equality in quantitative (staff and student data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) terms, identifying both challenges and opportunities; a plan that builds on the assessment, the activities that are already in place and what has been learnt from these; and an organisational structure (the self assessment team) to carry proposed actions forward.
Full details are available on the Athena SWAN website.
The Department's Athena SWAN committee meets regularly to discuss equality and diversity issues. We feed into a number of other departmental and University committees to ensure that we are making progress in implementing the Action Plan we set out in our Bronze award application.
Our current Athena SWAN committee members are:
Kathryn Arnold (Chair), Mark Hodson, Charlotte Burns, Rob Marchant, Nancy Baines (Admin staff Rep), Maria Gehrels (Technician Rep), Adam Regis, Emma Holland, Rachel Pateman (SEI-Y Rep), Zoe Austin (Early Career Researcher Rep), Louise Best (PG Student Rep).
Our committee members cover a range of roles in the department, levels of experience and personal circumstances.
Our Athena SWAN committee keeps practices and procedures within the Department under review, to consider ways of improving these to ensure fairness for all staff and students and raise awareness of equality and diversity. Examples of best practice are already embedded in many of the Department's activities:
The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which recognises excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education. The Charter was launched in June 2005.
The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:
To be successful, applicants to the charter mark need to undertake detailed analysis of their practices, enabling them to plan measurable action that makes a real impact.
The Department of Environment and Geography received a bronze award in September 2014.
We operate a family-friendly culture, including arrangements for part-time working, annualised hours and flexi-time. There are many examples of successful part time working across different job roles. There is a commitment to equal opportunities from the Department Management Team.
Several of our staff have benefited from the Department's supportive policies.
Nancy Baines is a member of support staff working with students to increase their links with employers through internships and graduate roles as well as managing our Year in Industry programme in the Department. She has worked with us since August 2014.
'Since working for the Department of Environment and Geography my contractual hours have been increased from 50% to 80% FTE on my request when my youngest daughter started full time education. The fact that the Department considered and granted this change in working hours had a large positive impact on me personally as well as my ability to provide a more comprehensive service to our students. As a working mother with two school aged children I really value the support that I gain from both my line manager and the Department in terms of my working arrangements. Being able to work flexibly allows me to manage those unexpected times when I am needed at home as well as enabling me to arrange my work diary such that I can take on additional responsibilities associated with my children's upbringing, for example being a school governor. The sense of value that comes from being trusted to manage my own time really adds to the satisfaction of my working and personal life.'
Dr Kathryn Arnold is a Senior Lecturer in ecology and leads the Ecology and Conservation research group in the Department. She an elected member of the Sciences Faculty Board and chairs the Department's Athena SWAN committee. She studied Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK and received her PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia. After holding research positions in Australia and the UK, she was awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship. She became a Lecturer in 2013 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015. Over the last eight years, she has worked part-time ranging from 50% to 80% depending on the needs of her family.
‘We have always striven to provide a supportive and family-friendly work environment and to offer equal opportunities to all staff and students. I am delighted to see this underlying ethos reflected in the Bronze Athena SWAN award.’
Head of Department, Professor Mark Hodson
'The Department has been very supportive of my need for part-time and flexible working. I am proud that the Athena SWAN Committee has recently included a 'part-time working guarantee' into the staff handbook - such that where possible the Head of Department will grant requests from all staff who wish to become part-time and for part-time staff to increase their hours as their other commitments change. So far, 100% of requests have been approved.'
Athena Swan Committee Chair & Senior Lecturer, Dr Kate Arnold