INCLUSION, EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Managing change and recognising progress towards gender equality: Athena SWAN
This session focusses on the management of change and assessment of progress towards gender equality. It is based on experience aligning institutional change to the Athena SWAN Charter principles. The Athena SWAN Charter is operated by Advance HE in the UK, and provides a system for examining and recognising progress towards gender equality in Higher Education Institutions. Through an extensive self-assessment process, it considers opportunities and outcomes for students, academic and professional staff and the ways in which those with caring responsibilities and special needs are supported. This session shares the approach to achieving Athena SWAN recognition developed at St Andrews, and is arranged in three parts. The first part briefly explains the Athena SWAN Charter in more detail. The second part explains how the process was organised at St Andrews, through aligning six elements: clear leadership; careful planning; collaboration; culture; and communication. The final part summarises practical advice about the management of the assessment process and sets out the process lessons from our experience, as a prelude to participant discussion.
Four particular learning objectives are envisaged. First, participants will develop an understanding of the practical benefits and difficulties of obtaining Athena SWAN recognition, as a signal of progress towards gender equality. Second, participants will be able to reflect on how collaborative frameworks can be established, to involve students and staff at all levels across a Higher Education Institution in the mission to advance gender equality. Third, participants will develop an understanding of the importance of managing communication and shifts in culture alongside concrete change initiatives to advance equality. Fourth, participants will develop an understanding of the processes and practices of leadership that are necessary for this kind of project. There will also be an opportunity for generative learning, through interactive participant discussion.
Prof Paul Hibbert
University of St Andrews
Paul Hibbert is Vice-Principal Education, Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee and Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His research is principally concerned with collaborative and relational processes of organizing and learning. He received his MBA and PhD from the University of Strathclyde, in Scotland