At the University of Stirling there are a range of great activities and initiatives going on to promote and ensure equality for our staff and students. 

Here is a taster of what is happening within our faculties:

Did you know not all externally-funded PhD students are entitled to maternity leave as part of their funding? However, in the Division of Biological & Environmental Sciences (BES), all funded PhD students will have any maternity leave supported by the Division.  This means that none of BES’ PhD students will be financially disadvantaged by going on maternity leave. BES have also introduced a Return to Work Fellowship for female lecturing staff returning from maternity leave – this provides an option, on return to work, to take a period of time dedicated to resuming their research work, before resuming their normal teaching and administration load.

Sometimes it’s seemingly small things which can make a difference too: BES job adverts for academic posts are all advertised as being open to applicants who wish to work on a part-time basis.  BES have secured some external funding from the European Society for Evolutionary Biology to do an in-depth study of their undergraduate attainment data with regard to gender – we await the results with interest!

Division of Biological & Environmental Sciences

Elsewhere in the institution in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport (FHSS) there has been a great deal of effort put in to awareness raising of equality and diversity issues, and the benefit of working to find ways to mitigate some of these issues.

Tony Robertson introducing International Men’s Day

For instance, equality activities are discussed at every Faculty Assembly meeting.  FHSS organised a presentation on International Men’s Day (yes, Men’s) to raise awareness that equality is for everyone.  Further to this, FHSS have great representation on their equalities panel from professional services staff within the Faculty, because equality is for all of us in the institution.  FHSS have also created some really great videos around the work they are doing, and have a dedicated twitter feed (@StirFHSS_AthenaSWAN) to keep us updated with the good things which are happening there.  The Faculty has also provided funding for a qualitative study – Avril Nicol will be conducting focus groups with FHSS staff who are currently studying part-time towards a PhD with regards to what support they have/would like/need.

There is much more going on in addition to this – but why?

The University has signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter.  This charter relates to female, male and trans students and staff in academic roles and professional services, with regards to their representation, progression into academia, journey through career milestones, and working environment.

As a University, as signatories to this charter, we already have an Institutional Award (Bronze), we also have two divisional level awards in the Division of Biological & Environmental Sciences (BES) and the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport (FHSS).

We are really pleased that all of our Faculties are actively engaged with the Athena SWAN process, which allows us to analyse data, identify issues, and then create actions plans for improvements. The implementation of these action plans creates positive change across our institution.

If you would like to know more about the University’s Athena SWAN work, please get in touch with Katharine Reibig or Tessa Parkes (Dean for Equality & Diversity, Chair of the Institutional Athena SWAN Group).