Today I took the day off from thesis writing as I was lucky enough to attend the Athena Swan (AS) charter awards ceremony for the Spring 2016 round of awards in Liverpool. Earlier this year the Department of Genetics self assessment team (which I’m a part of) submitted an application for a bronze award under the AS scheme and today we went to collect it. I didn’t go alone, I went with two academics from our department, both of whom put huge amounts of effort into the application. Effort that has definitely paid off.
We started at 10:30am which meant an early train up to Liverpool, but luckily there was tea and coffee waiting for us when we arrived. The morning kicked off officially at 11am with a quick welcome and several AS talks before moving onto the institutional awards. We heard also from institutions who have been working toward and successfully achieving the goals of the AS charter for many years. We also got lunch which is always a bonus 🙂 .
In total 101 institutional and departmental awards were handed out in the Spring 2016 AS round showing just how embedded in the UK’s academic culture the AS goals are hopefully becoming. In addition to our bronze award, another department from the University of Leicester were also there to collect a silver award (these gurus have much to teach us).
For every award received one particularly good practice was highlighted. Meaning the things that work can be shared across institutions, and I think we got some really good ideas today. The application for bronze was challenging, but overall our feedback was positive. The leap to silver will be even harder, but we now have processes underway in our department to identify and tackle some of the problems so ingrained in STEMM fields. With a bronze award under our belt things can only go up.