Published on 11 March 2022
First established in 2005, the Athena SWAN Charter is a framework used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within Higher Education and research.
Sunderland earned an institutional Athena SWAN Bronze award in 2019, and now it’s the turn of the University’s Faculty of Technology.
It means Technology is now the second academic department within the University of Sunderland to be individually recognised – after the School of Psychology won the Bronze award last year.
Sharon McDonald, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the University, chaired the Faculty Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and led the bid to submission.
She said: "I’m delighted that our application for an Athena SWAN Bronze award has been successful and I’m looking forward to supporting the Faculty of Technology in the implementation of our ambitious action plan.
“I’d like to thank the entire Faculty of Technology Self-Assessment Team for their contributions and, of course, Justine Gillespie for her fantastic support.
“We have engaged in a rigorous process of self-assessment. I hope that the insights we have generated and the actions we have identified will be of benefit to our staff and students in the years to come."
For its Athena SWAN application, the Faculty committed to a five-year action plan focussing on:
• Supporting and developing the careers of underrepresented groups
• Developing a purposeful and strategic approach to staff recruitment, progression and retention
• To consciously promote diversity in all our outreach and marketing activities
• To embed Athena SWAN principles in all Faculty objectives
Justine Gillespie, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the University, said: “This award is the result of the concerted efforts within the Faculty of Technology over the last 18 months, in particular Professor Sharon McDonald.
“It is also important to acknowledge the huge efforts of the whole Technology SAT in collating and interpreting the data to support Technology’s determination to achieve gender equality."
Justine added: “As a University we are starting to really understand how going through the process of Athena SWAN can help identify and address culture changes that need to take place.
"Athena SWAN gives insight into the barriers that people can face and the drive to create change towards achieving gender equality.”
Professor John Murray, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Technology at the University, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Faculty of Technology and demonstrates our commitment to gender equality and diversity within the faculty and particularly within STEM.
“The Athena SWAN award is a recognised charter mark and will reflect externally this commitment.”