All posts by Candy

Personal Resilience Through Change Workshops

Resilience is our capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks and challenges. It is about our ability to keep going, maintain our wellbeing, learn and develop.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20th May), we are offering a series of three workshops to give staff and students tools and techniques around resilience that can applied at work or at home.

The workshops will be delivered by Lisa Rippingale, who recently joined the University as a Senior Organisational Development Adviser. Lisa was trained by Dr Mandi Sherlock Storey (Chartered and Registered Practitioner Occupational Psychologist, and Head of Leadership Transformation with the North East Leadership Academy), who originally developed these workshops as part of her PhD research on Resilience. Lisa has successfully delivered similar workshops at a number of organisations in recent years.

The workshops run as a series, so you need to commit and sign up for all three:

  1. 15 May 2018, 12 – 1pm, RIDB1.2.04A (Seminar Room 2.04A, 2nd Floor Ridley 1)
  2. 5 June 2018, 12 – 1pm, RIDB1.2.04A (Seminar Room 2.04A, 2nd Floor Ridley 1)
  3. 27 June 2018, 12 – 1pm, MED L2.8 (Seminar Room L2.8, 2nd Floor Leech Building)

Spaces are limited: Please book here

For any queries please contact Malasree Home (, ext. 85423)

You’re invited to our Athena SWAN Roadshows

Come and see our first FMS Athena SWAN application, and discuss it with our EDI Team.

The Faculty is submitting its first application for a faculty-wide Silver Athena SWAN Award, and we want to hear what our staff and students think about it.

Athena SWAN is a national scheme that accredits Universities for their commitment and work towards achieving gender equality. Silver Awards are given to institutions, faculties and departments that can demonstrate that they have tackled relevant issues, and provide evidence of progress.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that addressing gender equality is just ‘all about women’, because it’s not. The application also considers gender equality issues from a male perspective, and explores how race can affect the career progression of both male and female staff. The application includes all our students (UG, PGT and PGR) and staff (academic and professional), including those at NU Med. So, whoever you are, you are part of our application, and our future action plan is about where you work or study.

We will be holding a series of four Athena SWAN Roadshows across FMS, and are inviting all our staff or students to come along and find out more about our work around gender equality, and what we have already achieved. We will have hard copies of the different sections of the application from to look at, and members of the EDI Team will be on hand to discuss any questions or ideas you might have. There’ll also be coffee and biscuits, so what would stop you? Come and join the conversation, and book your place now:

We look forward to seeing you there!


‘Northern Lights’: Developing a new Aurora alumni network

Jane Richards kicking off the meeting about the new network

This month, we brought together women from across the University who have attended the Aurora programme, a leadership programme to help address the issue of women being less represented in senior roles. There are more than 40 Aurora alumni at Newcastle University, with over half of those coming from our Faculty. Here, Jane Richards, our Deputy Director of Faculty Operations, tells us more about what she got out of Aurora, and why she is taking the lead in setting up a new group at the university for participants and alumni from the programme.

I attended the programme when it was still at the pilot stage in 2013/14. I was asked to participate by our Registrar to help test the water, along with an academic colleague. I presume that I was chosen because I had been identified as having leadership potential, and so was both flattered and enthusiastic about participating.

That pilot year was an interesting one. A particular highlight of the programme was the ‘Learning Set’, which involved a group of us meeting to help each other approach particular problems we had back at work. I was struck by how similar our issues were, in that regardless of our background, discipline or planned career path, we all felt hampered by our environment in achieving what we wanted. And we didn’t all want to be Professors, PVCs or Registrars. Some of us wanted to be the best we could be in a small pond, and it was important to recognise that that’s alright too. Good leaders are essential at all levels in the University.

I remember my action from the Learning Set was to knock on doors and ask for a pay rise… I won’t tell you the result! But my colleagues pointed out that my male colleagues wouldn’t think twice about doing it. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”, my Learning Set asked me, and it has been my mantra ever since.

I was inspired to get this group together for a number of reasons:

  • To give something back to the University for investing in me
  • To identify a powerful voice for women in leadership at the University
  • To create a community of alumni and potential entrants to Aurora (some of us are from the same Schools and didn’t even know each other, even when we’d been in same Aurora cohort!)
  • To support other women into leadership
  • To celebrate the impact of the Aurora programme

I have been thinking about organising the group for a long time, as I have been a role model and mentor for a few years without sharing my experience with other role models and mentors. We can learn from each other and make a difference if we pool our knowledge: we can be better at what we do.

Our first meeting set the principles and purpose of the group, and I was encouraged that I had done the right thing by getting this group together. As I suffer like many others with “imposter syndrome”, I had worried that others would not share my vision. We all recognised the need to support each other and new participants and applicants. We all also wanted to be part of the community.

We have decided to meet more regularly, to welcome new participants, to encourage alumni to become mentors, to look for funding for our events, to be ambassadors for women into leadership and to make the selection process for applicants more transparent. The University has invested time and money into our development and we feel strongly that re can provide returns on that investment.

Wish us luck!

TeamTalk: Let’s blog again like we did last summer…

A New Year and a new start to our FMS EDI blog! Having launched it last year, we became consumed by preparing our first Faculty Athena SWAN application, due for submission in April 2018 (more about that in another post). But now we have analysed most of our data, have sections in draft form, and are starting to have conversations about the colour schemes of the graphs, we can return to some of our other projects.

One of our aims for this year is to increase communications around our work in equality, diversity and inclusion, and we think that the blog is a great way to get the word out, and allow more staff and students to see how to get involved. Over the coming months, we want to tell you more about we’re up to and what we’re working on, and what it is we’re trying to change about our working practices and cultures across the Faculty to become more inclusive. We will also be sharing our experiences and perspectives on issues that affect us and drive our work. We want to tell you more about why our EDI work is important for the Faculty, and how it benefits all of us. If you keep an eye on our blog this year, you’ll find out why we do what we do, and why it matters to our staff and students.

We also want to use the blog to highlight and support our own staff and students. This might be through increasing the visibility of role models, celebrating successes around equality and diversity issues, or it might be highlighting schemes, activities or networks that you might want to be involved with. We want to use it to review our events – maybe if you missed out, you’d like to come along next time!

Finally, we want to use the blog as a way of starting conversations, both within the Faculty, and beyond. We need conversations with our staff and students to learn about what we are doing well, and where we can work to improve things. We also need conversations with other EDI teams across the University, to help us see where we can link up and work together, and what good practices we can readily share. We also want to talk with other EDI teams across the sector – we want to tell you about what works for us, but also what we struggle with – it would be great if you could help! And we hope to reach beyond the sector – there is so much to learn from the private sector about equality and inclusion in the workplace, and we hope that our blog can help us link up.

We will be tweeting about our blogs @FMSDiversityNCL so why not follow us and keep in touch? And if you have an idea for a post, contact us: