Action plan and objectives
- Contribute towards achievement of the University’s equality objectives
- Set and oversee work towards School of Computer Science-specific equality objectives
- Undertake relevant charter mark activities at departmental level including Athena Swan, including the delivery of the Athena Swan action plan
- Work toward a representative workforce who experience equal opportunities and outcomes
- Work toward a representative student body who experience equal opportunities and outcomes
- Work towards diverse representation on all School committees
- Share good practice throughout the School
- Ensure due regard to the public sector equality duty
- Raise and/or resolve issues of EDI concern
- Support and contribute to the Faculty EDI activities and programme
- Champion an ‘always-inclusive’ culture, including facilitating widespread visibility and accessibility of the Faculty’s values, vision and specific activities to progress EDI.
What we hope to achieve
The proportion of women represented in undergraduate computer science education is low and while we have improved the number of female students at postgraduate level, we will continue explore what could make CS a more attractive option for women at all levels.
Rebalancing gender at higher grades will take time but is a crucial goal for the School. We will identify areas of good practice in other STEM Schools that we can learn from.
Being awarded Bronze status, Athena SWAN recognises that our department is family friendly and this is somewhat key to our retention of the best quality of staff. Further, it recognises that although much more can be done in the future, we are moving in the right direction and have a series of goals to help implement these changes.
Key features of our Action Plan
- Through analysis of admissions statistics, we intend to increase the percentage of female intake to reach 20% by 2019/20, which will require an increase (from 12% in 2015/16) of 2% each year.
- We intend to identify more strong female students as 'gurus' and assign them to support new female students in order to raise the proportion of female students getting a 2:1 or first-class degree.
- Maintain the departmental framework of Women in Computer Science.
- Achieve an average of 20% of the overall proportion for female applicants for academic posts by 2019/20.
- Equalise success rates for female and male applications and ensure 100% of interview panel members underwent Equality & Diversity training or interview panel chair training.
- Continue to recruit females above the Russell Group benchmark, and maintain the percentage of female intake at minimum of 10% above the benchmark (CS PGT enrolment HESA data).
- The School will actively promote fellowship opportunities including those such as the University’s Ann McLaren scheme which targets female early career academics in order to promote and support fellowship applications.
- Maintain representation of female staff at levels 6 and 7 to greater than 25% of total male and female staff.
- Improve female representation on School Committees by making policies to have at least one female academic staff member on each.
- Ensure that all staff in the School have Equality & Diversity training by September 2016.
- Keep staff informed of Athena SWAN activities by releasing academic meeting minutes and reports to the staff intranet.
The Athena SWAN charter
The Athena SWAN charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for academic staff working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research.
Through this charter, we seek to develop our policies for all staff in academic roles with a focus on greater gender equality and diversity. The underrepresentation of women in science forms the foundation of the movement. A particular element of this movement seeks to address the lack of women in academic roles.
Computing, and indeed Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) is grossly underrepresented by women. Our efforts to achieve the Bronze Athena SWAN status, coupled with the University’s work with Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WinSET) illustrate our ongoing support and commitments to address inequalities in the workplace.
Recent changes in Athena SWAN's scope suggest that good practice involves creating an environment that makes positive approaches to equality, to support not just women in academia but also a breadth of confounding factors that may deter people from entering or staying in academia.
Our Athena SWAN group continuously endeavours to develop School policies that support a working environment for all staff, whether that means flexible working arrangements or targeted campaigns to raise awareness of computer science to underrepresented groups.
Facts and figures
- The proportion of female CS students undertaking research degrees at Nottingham has increased to nearly 30%, 12% above the national average of 22%.
- We have retained all our female staff members over the last few years and our annual turnover of staff is particularly low.
- All staff sitting on recruitment panels have undertaken training that covers gender awareness and the School ensures that further Equality and Diversity training is undertaken. There is an EDI committee of which all members are trained in Equality and Diversity.
- The School has a family-friendly meeting time policy with meetings scheduled to start from 9.30am until 3pm to facilitate childcare responsibilities for a number of years.
- The School has a number of policies, for example: timing of meetings that are designed to recognise the need for a healthy work/life balance. These have now been formally documented and listed on the School's staff intranet and in the Staff Handbook.
- We have created a staff common room to promote social interaction between staff members. Bi-monthly coffee mornings are held to encourage social staff and student interaction.
- Improved working practices for all staff is now measured in staff engagement surveys.
Periodic WinSET/Athena SWAN meetings
Nottingham's very own WinSET (Women in Science Engineering and Technology) group has a strong presence in the School and periodic meetings throughout the year have been held for some time. We recently merged the School's working groups for WinSET and Athena SWAN, reinforcing our commitment to equality.
The Computer Science Athena Working Group meet every few months to discuss issues and develop strategies related to the Athena SWAN charter. You can read minutes of some of our previous meetings below:
All previous minutes have been archived.