How are AHSSBL and STEMM defined?
For arts, humanities, social sciences business and law (AHSSBL) subject areas the HESA JACS Subject Codes L-X are all recognised as AHSSBL for the purposes of Athena SWAN.
For science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) Athena SWAN uses the BIS definition of STEMM as set out in their Science, Engineering and Technology Skills in the UK report (2nd Report of Session 2012–13). For a more detailed breakdown of STEMM subjects the HESA JACS Subject Codes A-K are all recognised as STEMM for the purposes of Athena SWAN.
Should we apply for a Bronze or Silver department award?
This depends entirely on the department. The self-assessment team should come to a decision based on the results of their self-assessment, how much good practice is already in place and the awards guidance. If a department can show evidence of impact of good practice, there is no reason not to go for Silver. Without clear evidence of such impact, however, departments should aim for a Bronze award.
How do we decide whether to submit as a department, school or faculty?
We understand that although awards are currently only made to universities or departments, organisational structures do not necessarily easily fit this division. However, there are precedents for a wide range of successful submissions from very small departments to large faculties.
Whether you choose to submit as a faculty as a whole or as departments, hinges on the make-up and autonomy of the individual sub-units. When deciding whether to submit as a faculty or individual departments, the following should be considered:
- sufficient size to pursue the self-assessment process
- autonomy and control over relevant policies (eg recruitment, induction, promotion, core hours, flexible working)
- the ability to provide data for their students and staff disaggregated from the rest of the faculty
- a distinct structure and culture
If a department currently or has previously held an award, it would not be eligible to be included in a faculty submission, short of a significant restructuring event. Similarly, departments included in a successful faculty submission are not eligible to apply for individual awards. Should they wish to apply individually, the faculty award would be invalidated.
The Equality charters team is happy to advise on which organisational unit should be put forward for an award. However ultimately this is a decision that must be taken within the institution. This should be done as early as possible in the application process; certainly no later than two months prior to the deadline.
What happens if two departments merge?
If two schools merge that both hold an award the individual schools will still hold their award for the duration of the award validity. When the first award is due for renewal the new merged department will have to apply for a new award. If the new school is successful any previous awards held will no longer be valid.
If the structure of the award-holding institution/department changes significantly during the period of award validity, please contact the ECU. It may require a new, updated submission.
Examples of structure change:
- merging/splitting of departments
- staffing restructure
Where do we find appropriate benchmarking data?
We understand that it is not always easy to find appropriate benchmarks. ECU has purchased data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA), which is available in our resources section of the website. This is password protected. Institutional key contacts have been provided with the password for this area.
All institutions should have access to their statistical report from HESA – we recommend contacting your HR department to access this. Learned and professional societies also hold some data on gender. Other sources of information that may be of use are the ECU Equality in higher education: statistical report, the Medical and Dental Schools Councils and the Research Councils.
How should we include clinical and/or allied health professionals in our staffing data?
Departments with clinical and non-clinical staff should separate these two groups when presenting staff data.
The Athena SWAN Charter assessment process will look at the staff you employ directly. Commonly for departments who carry out clinical work this includes:
- clinical academics employed directly by your department including those who also carry out programmed activities outside the University in a medical setting.
- academic clinical fellows
- academic Clinical Lecturers
- allied health professionals employed directly by your department
- GPs and GDPs employed directly by your department including those who also carry out programmed activities outside the University in a medical setting
You may also wish to refer to refer to any qualitative data you have for clinical or allied health professional staff who are not employed by you but who are contracted to carrying out programme activities/duties for you in substantive roles (eg medical education roles). This is no requirement to include these people in your quantitative data.