Lisanne Gitsels

5th of December 2016

I have attended two events as representative of CMP UEA. In October I went to a full day Cygnets workshop. This workshop was organised to bring together those involved in Athena SWAN.

The first talk was on how the Harvey Mudd College in the US gets and keeps women in computer science. The speaker provided handouts and a website on tips for teaching computing science. I forwarded those to Elena.

The second talk was on what the Engineering and Physical Sciences research council is doing to support female researchers in computer science.

The last talk was on Athena swan applications.

Tips for Athena Swan application:

  1. Write about the policy in place
  2. Describe the results of the assessment whether the policy is effective
  3. Write action points (e.g. based on that assessment)

Successful applications:

  • Provide contextual information
  • Are honest (about the situation, the data provided, etc.)
  • Are backed up by data
  • Link data, analytics, and actions (i.e. important to have a narrative)
  • Do not make it a ‘women’s problem’ (i.e. have a mixed Athena Swan board representing the diversity in the school regarding seniority levels and gender)
  • Always ask ‘so what?’ with the responses to the questions in the application
  • Include a smart action plan

Applications that are likely to fail:

  • Are descriptive instead of analytical
  • Have an inappropriate balance to procedural and proactive action points

For silver application:

  • Answer what is the marked effect or influence of the actions (not just correlation, but was there a causation?). Impact could be measured by numbers, roles and voices, take-up, and qualitative data.
  • Note that not all action points set out in the bronze application need to be successful for the silver application. If the action point was not successful, then describe the lessons learned and potentially a revised action plan.

In November, I volunteered at the Women of the Future event. This was organised by ResNet, the John Innes Centre, and the UEA. The event was organised for year 10 school girls from Norfolk to meet women from STEMM academia and industry. Female PhD students and academics were asked to attend for an hour to present a poster and answer questions of the school girls. I brought a poster on my PhD research. I was standing next to a PhD student from a different field and together we talked with the school girls. This was valuable because we could show them how diverse science is and at the same time how interlinked science is. We mainly talked about our own research, but sometimes also about our experience at university, changing courses, changing universities, and the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.