Students Staff
University of Essex

September 5, 2017

Are you a parent or have caring responsibilities?

Filed under: Athena SWAN — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:59 am

Through the work of Athena SWAN, it has been identified that it is often harder for working parents and carers (primarily women), to attend conferences and networking events, which fall outside of their normal working pattern, due to additional costs.

The University is committed to learning and promotes staff engagement in maintaining and further developing knowledge, expertise, and skills, irrespective of role and career stage.

Whilst it’s recognised that caring costs are only one factor that could affect attendance at these events, the ‘Career Development Fund for Carers’, has been developed to help relieve the pressure in some part, by helping staff with the additional caring costs incurred.

In recognition of these findings, until 31 July 2018, each Faculty and Professional Services department will hold a budget to support Career Development Fund for Carers applications.

Applicants can make one claim per year, of up to £150 to help with additional caring costs incurred as a result of attending conferences, training or networking events. Funds will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Further guidance and the application form can be found at What support does the University offer staff carers?

If you have any questions relating to this, or any other Equality, Diversity and Inclusion issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us at diversity



July 10, 2017

Race Equality Charter

Filed under: Equality and Diversity — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:07 am

In May 2017 the University joined the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter (REC), demonstrating our commitment to improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. In working towards this aim, we have accepted the five guiding principles of the REC which are:

  • Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
  • UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
  • In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
  • Black and minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
  • All individuals have multiple identities and the intersection of those identities should be considered wherever possible.
Professor Graham Underwood, Executive Dean (Science and Health) and the University’s Race Diversity Champion

Professor Graham Underwood, Executive Dean (Science and Health) and the University’s Race Diversity Champion

 

Professor Graham Underwood, the University’s Race Diversity Champion had the following to say regarding our new charter membership:

“I’m delighted that the University has committed to improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students through joining the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter. The Charter provides us with a framework to identify where racial inequalities exist within the University and to develop solutions that are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change.

As a University committed to inclusivity and to providing an environment in which all staff and students are accepted without exception, the principles of the Race Equality Charter align with our values and upholding them is vital in supporting the delivery of institutional excellence in education and research, our two central strategic objectives”.      

As part of our Charter membership we have also pledged:

  • to undertake a comprehensive self-assessment of race equality across the institution
  • to develop solutions to the issues identified through our self-assessment
  • to apply for a REC award within three years

For more information about what the University of Essex is doing to promote equality please visit the Equality and Diversity webpage or contact diversity@essex.ac.uk,



June 29, 2017

Gender Equality – We Want Your Views

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Gender equality — Mohammed Alam @ 12:21 pm

As part of the University’s participation in the Athena SWAN Charter we want to know how well you think the University supports staff of all genders and promotes gender equality. We want your honest opinions which we will use to inform future work in this area.

The survey consists of 17 multiple choice questions and 9 monitoring questions and should take less than 10 minutes of your time. Please do complete the survey and encourage others to do so too – the survey will be open until Friday 21 July.

Additionally, it would be much appreciated if you could add the following text to your signature.

How well do you think the University supports staff of all genders and promotes gender equality? Please give us your feedback by taking our  online survey before 21 July



June 2, 2017

Removing the ‘one box identity’: The effects of intersectionality on life experiences

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Developing Excellence,Developing Knowledge,Gender equality — Mohammed Alam @ 1:22 pm

Many of you will be aware of work going on around the University to improve the experiences and outcomes for different groups of staff and students through participating in initiatives such as Athena SWAN and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. This work has led to a number of changes to policy, practice and process across the University, all designed to create a more inclusive environment, but what challenges remain, what barriers still exist that prevent people from being accepted without exception and how can we move towards understanding how individuals’ multiple identities interact to affect their working, learning and social experiences?

This is the beginning of a series of discussions on the broad topic of inclusivity which we hope will create a platform for bringing together people with a range of expertise and personal experiences which in turn can help inform our work in this area. The session will take the form of short talks by each of the speakers followed by a panel discussion, taking questions from the audience.

Event details:

Monday 3 July 2017
6pm until 7.15pm followed by a drinks reception until 8pm (Colchester Campus)
Essex Business School building EBS.1.1 and video linked to Southend campus room GB.2.18
Bookings to be made via HR Organiser for staff.  For students, friends and family please email ldev@essex.ac.uk

Speakers

Thomas Currid, Lecturer, Health and Human Sciences

Thomas will talk about how he uses intersectionality in session content design and in his teaching. His expertise lies in the area of mental health and he will describe how he asks students to reflect on the multiple identities of the mentally ill and also the challenges they face e.g. sexism, racism, ageism, singularism, homophobia, etc. Thomas will also talk about intersectionality approaches in dementia and others with mental illness and through this lens, discuss mental health and the LGBTIA+ community.

Dr Sonia VirdeeDirector of Strategic Planning and Change

Sonia will give a brief personal narrative to stimulate discussion on attitudes and approaches to equality in Higher Education, from the perspective of a woman and an ethnic minority.

Fr. Alex Gowing-Cumber, Anglican Chaplain, Essex and East London Workplace Chaplains 

Alex will reflect on his evolving nature as a disabled spiritual practitioner who has never fitted neatly into tick box exercises and as a result faced prejudice and discrimination at the cross section of most junctions of his life. He will also briefly touch on 24 years and counting in a mixed race marriage and what it was like, as a couple, flying back into England having been at a conference in Rome, the day after the Brexit vote.

Further information:

Stonewall has produced some very useful information on their web pages around LGBT in the workplace.  If you are interested in finding out more about other issues in the workplace i.e. Bi-Sexuality and Trans equality these links might be helpful.



May 15, 2017

Athena SWAN: Success for the departments of History and Psychology

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Uncategorized — Mohammed Alam @ 4:00 pm

Congratulations to the departments of History and Psychology who join the Schools of Biological Sciences and Health and Human Sciences in holding a Bronze Athena SWAN award.

 

PSYCHOLOGY

“The Sciences suffer from a marked decline in women the further along the career path you look, and Psychology is no exception. We are extremely pleased that our department’s commitment to equality was recognised through the Athena Swan bronze level award. We look forward to implementing our 3-year action plan and to providing an even more inclusive environment where everyone, staff and students of any gender, has the opportunities they need to thrive and succeed.”

Dr Helge Gillmeister, Self-Assessment Team lead and Dr Dominique Knutsen, Self-Assessment Team co-lead

 

HISTORY

“Everyone in the Department is very proud of the award and keen to make progress on our action plan.  It’s wonderful that our work and commitment has been recognised”

Dr Matthew Grant, Self-Assessment Team Chair

 

Athena SWAN awards are given to institutions and departments in recognition of the work they have undertaken to address gender equality. You can find out more about what the University is doing to promote gender equality on the Equality and Diversity website.



April 19, 2017

Aurora: A Leadership Development Programme For Women

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Developing Excellence — Tags: , , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:03 am

Aurora is a women-only leadership development programme created by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in the UK. The aim of the programme is to help address the under-representation of women in senior posts in higher education.

The Aurora programme is targeted to all women up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent in a university or higher education college. The programme is aimed towards women who are ambitious for a career in the sector and interested in exploring leadership and management as an option for progression. It is designed to introduce fundamental leadership skills in 4 workshops (1 workshop = 1 day) with networking opportunities and guest speakers at each event. Furthermore, on-going support is ensured through action learning (1 day scheduled for this as part of the programme), online resources and institutional level support including mentoring and institutional Aurora Champions.

 

aurora

This year we have had five successful delegates’ cohorts, from left to right: Emma Appleton (Senior Financial Analyst), Dr Amanda K Chaplin (Post-Doctoral Researcher), Dr Victoria Nolan (Longitudinal Studies Project Manager), Dr Nadine Rossol (Senior Lecturer in Modern European History) and Dr Louise Marsland (Health Services Research Adviser and Lecturer).

 

In 2016-17, the University produced 5 funded places on the Aurora Programme which commenced in London on 8 March 2017, with attendance on 4 further dates: 29 March 2017, 26 April 2017, 24 May 2017 and 28 June 2017.

We were able to catch up with Dr Victoria Nolan on her success in the programme. She has kindly provided us with her experiences with Aurora.

Who are you?

I am the Project Manager for Understanding Society (the UK Household Longitudinal Study), based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. My role involves project planning, coordinating, tracking and reporting across the eight directorates and a range of other subprojects that make up the Study, and liaising with project stakeholders, funders and data users. I also have line management responsibility for two members of the Understanding Society team.

What’s your view of Aurora?

Aurora is an excellent programme for developing leadership and management skills, and for learning about your personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader and skills that can be developed further. Aurora is helping me to identify ways of improving my workplace behaviour to develop into a better leader, which is helpful both now, and as my role may develop in the future.

Aurora is also helpful for networking and meeting colleagues from around the University, and also from other universities across the country. We are learning a lot from each other and are making connections which will endure after the course itself has finished.

How is Aurora helping you?

The Aurora programme is really helping me to develop leadership skills that I can put into practice in my day-to-day work. I am learning about my identity in the workplace, techniques for “being heard”, different styles of leadership, and developing a presence within the team. We have gone on to learn about managing credibility, profile and influence, and building effective networks. We are developing “Action Learning” techniques to identify and find ways of resolving challenges that we face at work.

What does Aurora bring to the table? Why should people do it?

Aurora is useful as it is provided externally to the University hence, enables networking with a broader range of people, but is bounded by being focussed on higher education professionals, so all the delegates share fairly common experiences. The training days are well-structured with a combination of presentations from successful female role models within the industry, and group discussions where delegates can share their experiences and discuss challenges and possible solutions.

I would recommend that people apply for the Aurora scheme as it is a well-structured, interesting and useful course which covers a broad range of skills, and provides advice and guidance for better understanding your workplace self and gives you the tools to develop your leadership skills further in the future.

What does it mean to be a Successful Aurora Delegate?

I was very pleased to be chosen to take part in the Aurora programme. It is encouraging to be recognised as someone with future potential and I am pleased to be given the opportunity to develop my skills further within the context of this programme. Once the programme is finished I am certain I will have developed personally and been able to take some essential leadership skills back to the workplace.

 

You can find more information for the Aurora Programme here.

 



Celebrating International Woman’s Day 2017

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Gender equality — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 10:57 am

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March. Thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. This year, Essex Women’s Network organised a number of events centred around the theme of Health and Wellbeing in order to mark this special occasion.

To start the day, Psychotherapist Vanessa Murphy ran an experiential mindfulness session, exploring ways in which the simple practices of mindful breathing and meditation could help us respond, rather than react, too stressful and difficult situations.

This was followed by an open discussion facilitated by Susie Morgan (Director of Human Resources) and Dr Valerie Gladwell (Senior Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science) on the topic of health, wellbeing and maintaining a work-life balance.

We were also happily joined by Dr Caroline Marfleet, a Consultant in Family Planning and Reproductive Health at Colchester General Hospital, who provided information on the menopause. This was well attended by students and members of staff in Colchester and also in Southend, as the session was available via a live video broadcast. The session covered information such as the stages of the menopause, the symptoms and long-term impacts that may occur, how these symptoms can be reduced by using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the potential side effects that HRT may cause. Dr Marfleet also answered questions from attendees both regarding the menopause and wider fertility topics.  If you would also like the slides used by Dr Marfleet during this session, please email Jamais Webb-Small at jwebbs@essex.ac.uk.

Alongside these sessions, there were also a number of events that were held throughout the day. Free NHS checks were conducted by ACE Lifestyle, and Emma New provided wellness profiles that included the measurement of fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density and water percentage. In addition to this, a number of stalls were also held on square 3. Some were run by organisations centred around the theme of health and wellbeing (such as Health in Mind, Mid and North Essex Mind, Robin Cancer Trust and Occupational Health) whilst others instead showcased the facilities that the University has to support staff and students (Parent’s Group and the Women’s Network), and to improve the University’s environment to allow for equality of all genders both within academic departments and professional services (Athena SWAN). The Women’s Network organised a free lunch of soup and bread through Hospitality Essex, with a collection pot for monetary contributions to be donated to Colchester and Tendering Women’s Refuge. A total of £77.36 was raised!

In addition to this, both members of the Colchester Soroptimists and the Students’ Union LGBT* and Friends Society also ran stalls in order to fundraise for their organisations and provide information about what their respective groups are about, the aims that they have, and the type of events that they hold for their members.

However, the highlight of the day for many was the Motivational, Empowering and Inspirational (M.E.I) Women’s award. Sixty members of staff and students across the University, who identify as women, were nominated by their peers, students, friends and colleagues to be recognised for their inspirational achievements and their empowering attitudes that motivate and encourage others to be the best that they can be.

The awards were opened by the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and the Diversity Champion of Gender (including gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, Professor Aletta Norval. This year, the awards were attended by the Chancellor of the University, Shami Chakrabarti, who provided a short speech exemplifying the importance of recognising and celebrating the achievements of others both inside and outside of the University.  Shami humorously referred to the occasion as a ‘reverse Twitter’ as, in an era where online ‘trolling’, harassment and abuse are something that is experienced by many,  students and staff across all three of the University’s campuses nominated others anonymously for uplifting and remarkable reasons. Shami strongly stated that it is important to hold events like this, as the incredible impact that individuals have on others around them can often be forgotten or deemed as insignificant when faced with criticism, derogative comments and self-doubt.

Shami then commenced with presenting each nominee with their award by reading the reasons behind their nomination and inviting them down to collect their certificate.

The awards were extremely well attended, and enjoyed by all. One attendee said that it was “lovely to attend a ceremony based around honouring people for what they do to help others rather than purely on personal achievement.”

Some images from the day’s events can be found here.



June 23, 2016

Did you know that today is the third National Women In Engineering Day?

Filed under: Athena SWAN — Tags: , , , — Therese Pagel @ 9:00 am

Did you know that only 15.8% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female? This is much less compared to India where over 30% of engineering students are women on engineering courses. Furthermore, only 9% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female and only 6% of registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, EngTech) are women.

The University of Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is taking positive steps to promote gender equality in this field and is applying for the Athena SWAN Bronze Department Award this November. To promote this the School has created a website which informs about woman in the CSEE department and showcases female role models of the faculty.


For further information please see:
Women in Science website of Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
National Women In Engineering Day’s homepage