Equality and inclusion

Athena SWAN Awards, Action Plans and Initiatives

Athena SWAN Awards and Action Plans

The School of Psychology successfully submitted for a Bronze Award in 2014 and for a Silver Award in 2018. View the bronze award submission and the silver award submission.


We have invested much hard work and commitment to develop a range of initiatives to progress equality and inclusion within the school.

A number of Faculty of Medicine and Health Initiatives have been created including an Academic Development Fund to support the maintenance of academic trajectory following a period of leave, flexible working arrangements and the opportunity to purchase additional leave. Details of the faculty initiatives can be found here.

School of Psychology initiatives have been developed to support students and staff working in the school:

Initiatives in relation to taught students

  • The School has continued to modify and enhance the UG Personal Tutor system in light of informal and formal student feedback. The emphasis of the system is to provide continuity of individualised support across the undergraduate degree, meaning that, where possible, students remain with the one allocated personal tutor to facilitate in-depth knowledge of individual students, their specific needs and development.
  • Students are also made aware of the many central resources the University offers, including the ‘Leeds for Life’ on-line facility for guiding and logging personal development which is under continual personalisation for the school students.
  •  A series of careers events is provided within the school with the support of the Careers Service which receives excellent student evaluation.
  • PGTs have access to the Careers Service and are invited to all relevant School career events.
  • A Civic and Academic Awards system was introduced in 2013/14 for undergraduate and taught PGs with Civic Awards open also to PGRS.

Initiatives in relation to research postgraduates

  • A Faculty level and local School induction programme is provided for PGR students which includes a presentation from the Careers Service.
  • The annual School PGR conference is organised by the students themselves and includes a keynote from an alumni.
  • PGRs are required, as part of their training, to attend the School Research Seminars which provide a wide range of experts with whom to discuss cutting-edge research. The School also provides an annual in-house PGR training day which includes presentations from experts within the School, from the wider university, and beyond and a ½ day workshop on ‘Building towards an academic career’.
  • PGRs have opportunities to develop teaching experience and have access to training organised by Faculty and within the School organised by the PG Teaching Co-ordinator in association with OD&PL.
  • A seminar series for PGRs was initiated in 2013/14 which incorporates more personal communication with PGRs about the research and career trajectories of academic staff within the School and beyond.
  • A Civic and Academic Awards system was introduced in 2013/14 for undergraduate and taught PGs with Civic Awards open also to PGRS.

Initiatives in relation to staff

Staff Review and Development Scheme reviewers receive compulsory training from the Staff & Departmental Development Unit in association with Faculty HR and adherence is monitored at school level by an administrator.

  • All School staff members of interview panels within the School are required to undertake University equality and diversity training and to update this training at least every 5 years. This is checked by an administrator.
  • As part of the University’s Equality Strategy, the University offers all female staff, from grade 5 and above, the opportunity to attend a personal development programme for women entitled ‘Springboard’. Attendance is encouraged and advertised within the School.
  • Attendance of the Women in Science, Engineering & Technology network is encourage and advertised within the School.
  • Mentoring is highly supported by the School and the University system is advertised to staff.
  • The School has adopted an approach of increased transparency with regard to the appointment of all senior academic management roles through an open application process of advert and interview, and roles are open to all staff who meet the required person specification. Such appointments are time-limited, usually for a period of three years in the first instance, ensuring opportunities for turnover.
  • The School has appointed a Contract Research Staff Champion – Dr Catherine Gibbons - whose role it is to support and advise on career development, to welcome new research staff to the School, act as a point of contact for any issues encountered, and to work towards full implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
  • The School is working with the University towards full implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
  • The School utilises a Workload Model for academic staff which incorporates all aspects of academic work through teaching, supervision, pastoral tutoring, citizenship, administration, and research (for which academic staff on standard contracts are allocated 2 days per week). Time tariffs have been agreed for all roles and teaching load takes into account number of students and the provision of material for first time sessions.
  • The School Workload Model is monitored on an annual basis across activity types for gender equity and adjustments made, where possible, if disparities are highlighted.
  • The Workload Model has allowed identification of staff with particularly high teaching loads and for adjustments to be made where necessary.
  • The Director of Student Education use the Workload Model to organise cover for work during absence.
  • Staff who have informed the Head of School that they anticipate having a period of maternity leave are supported through meetings with a member of HR to discuss informational needs and timescales.
  • The Athena SWAN Champion has initiated a return-to-work welcome meeting to discuss help best to support individual staff’s return to work which includes a discussion of work-life balance, specific issues with which the individual could benefit from additional information (e.g., from HR) or assessments (e.g., from Occupational Health), and a stepped return to duties where possible.