The Department of Medicine was delighted to hear last week that it has been granted an Athena SWAN Silver award in recognition of its commitment to address the underrepresentation of female academics in university STEMM departments.
The achievement reflects the fruits of actions completed and the impact of changes made since the department’s Bronze award in 2013. The gap between numbers of male and female academics is slowly closing, and academic promotion application and success rates are now slightly higher for women than men.
From the start of its Athena SWAN journey in 2012 the department (headed by Professor Martin Wilkins) took a broad approach by setting out to make changes to culture and organisation that would benefit all staff and students, and “building a strong and supportive academic community” is integral to its mission.
Developments since the Bronze award include a thriving mentoring scheme that is now being adopted by other departments, an annual Welcome reception for all new staff (and informative Welcome packs), an Academic & Family Life panel discussion programme open to the wider College, a DoM Life website, promotion support team and an Early Career Committee.
Many challenges remain for a department of nearly 1000 people spread across six campuses: ensuring that progress so far is both embedded and sustainable, fostering a supportive and interactive culture, and forging a clear departmental identity.
Progress is driven by a diverse Development & Opportunities Committee led by Dr Jane Saffell and supported by HR Liaison Officer Mrs Meriel Cartwright. Within this, an Early Career Committee co-Chaired by Drs Amy Birch and Ed Roberts spearheads initiatives for postdocs and PhD students.
If you are interested in the work of the committees, or would like to see the Athena SWAN submission and action plan, please visit the DoM Life website.
Dr Jane Saffell
Department of Medicine