The Dentist Magazine.

Prestigious award for Plymouth University

Published: 08/05/2017

Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) has achieved a prestigious Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of its efforts in fostering a culture of equality, fairness and equal opportunity.

The Athena SWAN Charter, part of the Equality Challenge Unit, was established in 2005, to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In order to achieve the Athena SWAN Silver Award PUPSMD had to satisfy or exceed a variety of exacting criteria, and introduce ways of working which are sustainable and create an environment for equal opportunity. Initiatives introduced by PUPSMD are wide ranging, and examples include improving the gender balance in meetings and interviews for prospective staff and students, creating mechanisms for promotion which are fair to all genders and providing crèche facilities for important faculty events.

The PUPSMD Athena SWAN Silver Award application process was led by Professor Liz Kay, foundation dean of the Peninsula Dental School and associate dean for equality and inclusion. Professor Kay chaired a cross-gender, cross profession self-assessment team which worked on the application.

Liz commented, “The process towards the Athena SWAN Silver Award has seen us all closely examine the way in which we do things, to ensure that wherever possible we instigate a level playing field to provide equality of opportunity regardless of gender, nationality, religious belief and sexual orientation. The self-assessment team has played an immensely important role in this achievement and their commitment and work for this cause has been formidable – creating a culture of fairness, equality and collegiality which has been adopted by the faculty.”

Professor Robert Sneyd, dean of PUPSMD, added, “I am immensely proud of everyone involved in this submission, and of the enthusiasm with which the Athena SWAN ethos has been embraced from top to bottom. The Athena SWAN Silver Award is a marker by which organisations, funders, collaborators and individuals can be assured that ours is a faculty that is serious about ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive and realise their potential.”

In 2015, the Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL); in professional and support roles; and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly and not just barriers to progression that affect women.