Tag Archives: Featured

Our Faculty now has a Silver Athena SWAN Award!

We are celebrating this week after hearing that we have been awarded a Faculty Silver Athena SWAN award from AdvanceHE!

The award recognises not just our commitment to advancing gender equality in the Faculty, but also our achievements in supporting the career aspirations and progression of our staff and students. Whilst many of our schools and institutes have held individual awards, our work now extends to all academic and professional staff, including those who sit outside academic units. This award is for everyone in the Faculty, both in Newcastle and at NU Med Malaysia. It is an immense achievement, and one that we are hugely proud of.

“Being recognised for an Athena SWAN Silver award is a tremendous achievement and represents an important milestone on our Faculty journey towards having a truly sector-leading approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.  We cannot and should not rest on our laurels, as there is much still to be done in reaching this goal. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful EDI team – Candy Rowe, Ann Armstrong and Malasree Home – for their efforts, as well as all those people in the Faculty who have contributed along the way to creating such a strong submission.” – Prof David Burn, Pro-Vice Chancellor, FMS.

The award marks a step-change in our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), which now aims to be fully inclusive of all our staff and students, not just those in our Schools and Institutes in Newcastle. Working together as a Faculty, rather than as separate units, will enable us to be more ambitious, and tackle bigger issues with more resource.

“Two years ago, we decided that we should make one single Faculty application, rather than 11 separate ones. There are so many advantages to this approach. I believe that the work we have still to do around gender equality, and equality and diversity more broadly, will be better tackled as a Faculty, and this award demonstrates what we can achieve through that approach.” – Prof Candy Rowe, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for FMS.

FMS is the only faculty or department in the University to currently hold a Silver award. Our key achievements include: improved progression of women into fellowships, improved gender balance of academic staff, and increasing numbers of women professors.Over the next four years, some of the areas that we will be working on will be: improving the support for staff and student parents, addressing issues around career progression of professional staff, and improving career support for post-doctoral researchers. This will involve working with a large network of staff both inside and outside the Faculty.

“The success of a faculty level silver Athena SWAN award is an exceptional achievement resulting from the commitment and hard work of many people from across FMS. This is a real opportunity for FMS to become sector leading and I know that some of the existing initiatives are already considered beacons of good practice, and are being shared  inside and outside the University. This is a collective success for all staff and students as we progress our ambition of being a fully inclusive global community, which actively seeks to recruit, support and retain staff and students from all sectors of society equally.” – Prof Judith Rankin, Dean of EDI.

The journey to get us to this point has truly been a team effort, not just from our EDI teams, but from a whole host of individuals who helped us prepare the application, and who continue to be champions for equality, diversity and inclusion. We really appreciate all your work and passionate support. We plan to invite everyone to a celebration once we have collected our award.

What’s important now is to keep up all the good work and the ambition: after all, what’s to stop us going for a Gold award in a few years’ time?

Our Faculty Athena SWAN application and 4-year action plan is available to view and download on the intranet. Please note that all schools and institutes will have their own action plans to address discipline-specific and local cultural issues, and that these will be made available by the end of the year. Queries and feedback to: FMS.Diversity@ncl.ac.uk


Improving Communications around EDI: What do we do, and why?

Whilst many of us have been taking holiday over the summer break, our FMS EDI Student Interns have been working hard to make sure that we can improve our communications about the equality, diversity and inclusion work going on in the Faculty.

Feedback form various surveys and focus groups have told us that we need to do more to let our staff know what we are doing, and why. For example, staff in the EDI Focus Groups that we ran in January, scored us only 4.6 out of 10 on our comms, which has an impact on their ability to engage with what we’re doing. People wanted to know more about what we are actually doing, and why, and have access to more information about the support that is offered and the benefits that it brings.

We hear you!

Over the summer, we recruited two student interns, Georgia and Joe, to help us out. We first set up an EDI Comms Team, committed to ensuring that key messages are communicated effectively, through a variety of different routes. We’ve taken advantage of the new intranet pages to develop our own Faculty EDI site: you can find a wealth of information on it for staff and for students, including an events calendar, and we’ll continue to build resources over the coming months. Let us know if you think we’ve missed something!

Our blog has also been revamped so that we can use it more this year to tell you about who our EDI team are, about the activities and events we will be running, and about projects we are working on and that you can get involved with. Some of the blog series we have planned for the next few months will showcase some of the projects are staff are running with support from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund, give you some insights into what it is like to be in the senior management and leadership team, and how some of our staff manage working part-time. We are always looking for ideas for blogs or why not write something for us?

Finally, we continue to develop our twitter feed @FMSDiversityNCL. We see this as an important way to keep up to date with what’s happening around the University and across the sector, and to bring in ideas to stimulate our thinking. We also use it to advertise events and keep followers up-to-date with what we’re working on. We have nearly 1000 dedicated followers, so why not follow us?

We are also going to try out some new routes of communication – hopefully, you’ll see some of our new posters in our public spaces – these will be regularly updated. We’ll also be making more use of the screens to help advertise our events and activities. You can also follow our FMS EDI intranet site to make sure that you are first to know about the latest developments, and sign up to training and networking events.

If you want to contact the new EDI Comms Team to tell us some good news, an idea for a blog, an event you’d like us to promote for you, or just give us some feedback on how we’re doing, do get in touch: FMS.EDIPlanning@ncl.ac.uk

Do you want a Rainbow Lanyard? 

A few weeks ago, as part of Newcastle University’s Pride celebrations, a small number of rainbow lanyards were distributed around the Faculty and University. The response to them was overwhelming, so we’ve ordered a lot more! Over 2000 of these colourful rainbow lanyards are now being distributed, so keep an eye out across the campus to make sure you get one!

However, these aren’t just a fashion accessory: wearing one shows your support for our LGBT+ staff and students across the University. We admit that they are very pretty and the colours are certainly striking, but they also have meaning: the lanyards sport the six colours of the rainbow flag, with the addition of brown and black to promote inclusion of Black and Asian members of the LGBT+ community. Wearing a rainbow lanyard signifies your commitment to provide a working and study environment where our LGBT+ staff and students feel safe, comfortable and included.  

The lanyards were designed by our new Rainbow@ncl Network to raise awareness around LGBT+ issues, and we will be working closely with them over the coming year to make our Faculty more inclusive.

If you would like to know more about what the rainbow flag represents, and why it’s important to take pride in wearing a rainbow lanyard, you can read an earlier post or see our flyer.

If you have any further questions about the rainbow lanyards or our Faculty’s work around LGBT+ inclusion, please don’t hesitate to contact our Faculty EDI Team. And if you want to join the Rainbow@ncl Network, contact Gareth.Longstaff@ncl.ac.uk.

And make sure you get your hands on a rainbow lanyard as soon as they arrive, as there are only 2000 to go around!