Posted Wednesday 12 May 2021
Kingston University's commitment to gender equality and inclusivity has been recognised with two further Athena SWAN bronze department awards. The latest accreditation from Advance HE follows successful applications from teams within the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly with St George's, University of London.
The awards were presented to the School of Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences and for a second submission encompassing a range health and social care schools and departments. They included the School of Nursing, the Department of Social Work and Social Care and the Department of Midwifery, the Centre for Allied Health, as well as the Centre for Health and Social Care Research and Centre for Public Engagement. The bronze awards will run until 2026.
As part of the accreditation process, self-assessment teams from each Faculty examined the staff and student make up and equality initiatives currently in place, before putting together comprehensive action plans to support staff in their career progression and place gender equality at the heart of their work.
School of Nursing Director of Research Professor Ann Ooms, who led the self-assessment team for the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, said the process had been enriching for all involved. "We learned about challenges we face with regards to equality, support that is available to staff and students, how to raise awareness of that support within our community and, through our discussions, developed an ambitious action plan," she said. "It was a true pleasure for academics, professional services staff and students from the different schools and departments to meet regularly, get to know each other and collaborate towards achieving a common goal."
Being part of the Athena SWAN application for the School of Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences had been an illuminating experience, senior psychology lecturer Dr Georgia Butler said. "Working on the submission really highlighted where gender equality is represented in our school and where there is still work to be done and we have been making progress and creating plans to take us forward," she said. "Getting to know colleagues within my school who I did not know before was an added bonus of being on the working group."
Awarded by Advance HE – formerly the Equality Challenge Unit – Athena SWAN supports higher education institutions across the globe to achieve gender equality objectives through a targeted self-assessment framework. Alongside institution-wide awards, departmental awards recognise specific work being undertaken by Schools to promote gender equality and identify and address challenges particular to departments and disciplines.
Kingston University has held an institution-wide bronze accolade since 2017 and now has a total of five departmental bronze awards, including all three Schools in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing – the School of Engineering and the Environment, the School of Computer Science and Mathematics and the School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry.
The latest recognition formed part of a longstanding commitment to work towards achieving an institutional silver award, the University's gender equality champion and lead on Athena SWAN submission, Dr Lucy Jones, said. "Staff across the institution have given a huge amount of time and effort towards achieving this recognition," she said. "We are committed to embedding gender equality throughout everything we do at Kingston University, ensuring our community can study and work in a diverse learning environment within which they have equal opportunity to succeed and thrive."