The University of Lincoln first received the Bronze Athena SWAN Award in 2014, and successfully renewed it in 2018
The past eight years has seen tremendous development within the University as we strive to realise our future vision to become a leading UK Higher Education Institution by 2020. We are committed to establishing a strong science and engineering base, and are now well on our way to achieving these goals – in 2010 we opened a state-of-the-art Engineering School; the College of Science was established in 2011, along with Schools in Life Sciences (2012), Pharmacy (2013), Chemistry (2014), Mathematics & Physics (2014) and Geography (2016).
Creating excellent working conditions and promoting equality of opportunity are important parts of our strategic plan – to recruit and retain the very best staff and to become recognized as a university of quality and distinction. The Athena SWAN project arose from our on-going equality and diversity work within the University as a whole, and a realization that our STEMM disciplines were not reaching the standards of gender equality we wanted to achieve. As our STEMM provision expanded, the Athena SWAN project served as a valuable benchmark for our current achievements, and a mechanism to ensure that, in the future, our new STEMM schools achieve and retain gender-parity of opportunity from the outset.
In 2012, the University’s Athena SWAN Committee developed an ambitious action plan that clearly addressed our concerns for recruitment and retention, and aimed to build a framework for support, guidance and inspiration for our women in STEMM disciplines. It also aimed to reach out and inspire the young girls of Lincolnshire to be the STEMM innovators of the future, and to make a contribution to national aspirations to achieve gender-parity at undergraduate level in all STEMM disciplines.
Guided by our Action Plan (2014-17), we are beginning to see real improvement across the University (e.g. STEMM female representation among Readers and Professors has for the first time reached the WISE target of 30%); four of our Schools have now received Bronze Awards; and, having expanded our activities to include the AHSSBL disciplines in 2016, all of our Schools are now actively engaged in the self-evaluation process, with the ambition to gain awards by the end of 2020.
The University remains wholly committed to achieving our Athena SWAN goals and has continued to give its full support, investing over £0.5m in this project to date. A full-time Equalities Project Manager and an Equalities Administrator have been recruited recently to provide further support and guidance, and our Academic Returners’ Research Fund continues to enable our female academics to plan and sustain their research activities around maternity leave.
Our new Athena SWAN Action Plan (2017-2021) builds on these achievements, helping us to sustain the impact that has already started to emerge, and to ensure our learning is transferred effectively across the institution as a whole. Our plans are ambitious, but we have embarked on a route which I believe can, and will, make a difference.
Professor Mary Stuart