A University of Manchester department has won an award for its support for women in science.
The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has been awarded an Athena Swan Bronze Award, which recognises and celebrates good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in science, engineering and technology (SET) disciplines in higher education.
The School is one of four within the University to receive the honour; only three Pharmacy departments nationally have been handed the award.
The School has an undergraduate population of 700 students on the four-year MPharm programme, and around 175 postgraduates. More than 60% of the undergraduates and 57% of the postgraduate students are women. At the time of the Bronze Award application in April 2011, 20 out of 40 academics, 15 out of 27 research staff, and 12 out of 18 honorary teaching staff were women.
“Our female students perform exceptionally well on the MPharm and postgraduate courses, and we have a range of initiatives in place that aim to build awareness and a culture of equality and diversity among our students and staff,” said Professor Karen Hassell, who led the award bid for the School. “These include: involving students in admissions interviews; building equality and diversity into the curriculum; providing a maternity scheme for postgraduate students, and ensuring new academic staff have separate teaching and research mentors.
“The School’s main challenge over the next few years is to reduce the significant gender gap that exists in the most senior academic grade. To increase the number of female professors we will take a proactive approach to recruiting or promoting women when new posts or promotion opportunities arise; we also aim to provide a one-to-one bespoke career coaching scheme for female academics.”
She added: “Finally, we will utilise our new workload model to ensure transparent and equitable distribution of key tasks, and we aim to host a series of events aimed at students to encourage them to have high expectations and ambitions for a future career in science.”
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