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Athena SWAN

About Athena SWAN

A commitment to gender equality

Athena Swan is an equality charter mark that recognises good practice and a commitment to advancing gender equality in Higher Education.

Student chatting around a table

Teesside University has worked to embed the Athena SWAN principles across all of its activity, striving to set the highest possible standards for equality and diversity.

In 2018, Teesside University was awarded an institutional Bronze award, recognising the University's work in gender equality and in developing an inclusive culture that values all staff and realises the potential of its people.

Athena SWAN provides a great opportunity to improve gender equality by learning from others, and identifying areas of good practice that can be rolled-out across our University.

Our Athena SWAN strategy sets out our broader commitment and aspirations. Inclusivity is part of Teesside's DNA; our aim is to be regarded as a leader and agent of change in this field. For us, Athena Swan is not just an internal exercise, it is also about connectivity with our external networks and stakeholders.

You can find out more about the Athena SWAN Charter on the Advance HE website Athena SWAN coordinator at athenaswan@tees.ac.uk or one of our Athena SWAN champions.

Institutional Bronze Award

Teesside University has a long standing commitment to inclusivity and valuing staff. In 2018, we achieved an institutional Bronze award which recongises our commitment to equality and diversity. The award lasts from 2018-2022.

'The Bronze award is a fantastic achievement, but it is not the end of this journey. We will continue to drive this agenda and set the highest possible standards for equality and diversity.''

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise & Business Engagement)
and the University's executive champion for gender

As part of our submission, a self-assessment team undertook an analysis of challenges and developed an action plan to address these specific areas. Our action plan is led, and monitored by our Athena SWAN Implementation Team.

Throughout 2020 we will be delivering a number of high level projects to deliver the action plan and aims set out in the Athena SWAN strategy.

Athena SWAN champions

Teesside University has appointed Athena SWAN champions to raise awareness of Athena SWAN and drive the cultural change required. Our champions are passionate about inclusivity and are committed to driving activity in this area.

Professor Jane Turner

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise & Business Engagement)
Athena SWAN lead

Jane Turner

I am passionately committed to creating an environment where colleagues can thrive and develop, ensuring gender equality and opportunity. Through Athena SWAN, we have a clear commitment and purpose to create a positive and impactful shift in the lived experiences of colleagues and students. This is not a ‘lip service' project but a culture shift that is driven by the senior leadership of the University. Through this process, we are collectively creating positive engagement and momentum ensuring that the achievement of the charter is felt throughout the University and into the wider community

Professor Natasha Vall

Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
Athena SWAN Deputy lead

Natasha Vall

As a historian and Professor I am very aware of the currency of the Athena SWAN agenda for society today as well as in the past. We have made huge strides towards gender equality and this is a really exciting time to be engaged in this charter, but the continued challenges of the gender pay gap and gender equality more broadly, globally as well as in the UK, are a stark reminder of how far we still have to go. I am passionate about equality in the work place and am keen to prioritise work that promotes the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law as an inclusive and happy place to work, for men and women, as well as working proactively for the career progression of women. As Associate Dean for Research I have been particularly proud to support the work of the charter through the appointment of new female research Professors and supporting the broader growth of women in senior research leadership roles. I am sure this will enrich the research culture of our School and support the career prospects of these individuals.

Dionne Lee

Policy & Projects Manager
Athena SWAN coordinator

Dionne Lee

I am passionate about gender equality and inclusivity that ensures everyone can access opportunities to succeed. I initially became involved in Athena SWAN when I was asked to project manage the University's Bronze award submission in 2015. However, I quickly became an advocate for the Charter and what can be achieved. Working on Athena SWAN, it is easy to see that the university has a strong heritage in inclusivity and valuing individuals. It is important that this is recognised and celebrated. However, it is also clear that there are still many challenges. I have, and continue to champion Athena SWAN as a vehicle to drive positive cultural change across the university community and beyond.

Steph Bales

Director (RIS)
Athena SWAN data lead

Professor Zulf Ali

Research Professor & Director of Academic Research and Innovation Partnerships

Zulf Ali

I think that it is important to recognise that excellence does not exist in a single person or a type of person and that we value and appreciate the diversity of our community in terms of gender, race, belief or faith, sexual orientation, age or disability. We need to be conscious of the biases that we may have in the decisions that we make. It is well recognised that there are great benefits of having diverse teams. Athena SWAN is incredibly important in promoting equality of opportunity and I am committed to supporting it

Juliet Amos

Executive Director, HR

Juliet Amos

As the University's lead on Equality and Inclusion, I am fully committed to providing all our staff with an equal opportunity to achieve their potential and feel fully supported in undertaking their role. The University's commitment to Athena SWAN has been a welcome catalyst to both capture and communicate the full range of initiatives and support already in place as well as exploring further opportunities to improve gender equality, with input from staff at all levels across the University.

Steph Atkinson-McCann

Senior HR data analyst

Steph Atkinson-McCann

I was appointed at the university 5 years ago as a Data Analyst, and have since been promoted to Senior HR Data Analyst. In my current role, I manage the HR Information & Enhancement Team. We provide quality management information and functional enhancements, ensuring accurate delivery and a modern approach to HR services.

As a member of the Athena SWAN group I feel that I have an active grasp of the Athena SWAN charter and its principles. I'm involved in working towards Athena SWAN here at Teesside University and it's not just about equality for women. It's about equality for everyone. By providing key staff quantitative data, I feel I contribute a lot to our submissions.

Susy Cook

Associate Dean Learning & Teaching
Athena SWAN co-lead
School of Health & Life Sciences

Susy Cook

Improving wellbeing is recognised in Athena Swan and something I am passionate about.

I am committed to Athena Swan and believe that greater inclusivity across the University will further develop and deepen a supportive, healthy and equitable workforce. I believe that working together we can go from strength to strength, break down barriers and champion equality and diversity.

Professor Nash Dawood

Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)
Athena Swan lead
School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies

Professor Nash Dawood

As an experienced researcher I have been recognised in UK's best breakthrough list, which demonstrates universities are at the forefront of some of the world's most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives.

As Associate Dean for Research and Innovation I am committed to growing and developing a diverse and vibrant research cultures that recognises and nurtures talent. I am passionate about promoting gender equality and further developing an inclusive culture that values all staff and their contribution to higher education and research. I am committed to supporting females in research positions, helping them to achieve their full potential.

As a Senior Champion for Athena SWAN, I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the University to engender the highest possible standards for equality and diversity at Teesside University.

Kieran Fenby-Hulse

Impact Manager

Kieran Fenby-Hulse

I am passionate about advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion, EDI work at the heart of both my research and practice. I strongly believe that to be more inclusive we need to shift from business as usual to business as unusual. It is an openness to disruption and change that will lead to inclusive environments where difference is valued. Now, more than ever, we need to create workplace environments that are fair, equitable and that enable all to excel.

Elaine Fryett

Associate Dean Learning & Teaching
Athena Swan lead
Teesside University Business School

Elaine Fryett

Lockdown is a great example of the principles of Athena SWAN. The lockdown has required everyone to embrace flexibility, respect for others and the balance of work and life. It has acted as a leveller, required us all to offer some insight into our personal selves and, in many cases introduced colleagues to our personal world, family and pets!

As a University, Athena SWAN is central to its inclusivity agenda and embraces representation, progression and success for all.

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Philip Graham

Student Reporting Manager

Debbie Harris

Sport & Exercise Clinics & Practice Supervisor

Debbie Harris

I have worked for Teesside University since graduating in 2008. My roles have varied since my first role as a part-time lecturer on a zero hours contract. My initial full-time role was as a Grade 4 Admin Assistance, within this role I was consistently encouraged, and provided the opportunities, to develop my skills and to learn varying roles within the University. Senior Management within the University have always supported my wish to develop professionally and have actively identified potential career pathways that would benefit both the University and my own developmental aspirations. I have been incredibly fortunate to progress from a Grade 4 admin role to my current Grade 7 clinical supervisor role and I hope to be able to continue to advance my career whilst continuing to support the University and student population.

My decision to become involved in the Athena SWAN project was in the hope that I could contribute to the development of other individual's careers, and that I could help to highlight the fantastic support system that Teesside University provide for all employees. I believe that Teesside University employs highly skilled and dedicated staff, who don't always fully appreciate the opportunities that are available to them, and in some instances seem to think that career aspirations need to fall into gender stereotypes that exist in society generally. I have not experienced any gender discrimination within Teesside University - my experience has been that individuals are “picked out� for promotion and projects based upon their skills and experience. I would like to ensure that more Professional Support staff are aware of the opportunities available to them and to work with lower grade staff to help them to identify areas for development and career progression.

Debbie Harris

Sport & Exercise Clinics & Practice Supervisor

Debbie Harris

I have worked for Teesside University since graduating in 2008. My roles have varied since my first role as a part-time lecturer on a zero hours contract. My initial full-time role was as a Grade 4 Admin Assistance, within this role I was consistently encouraged, and provided the opportunities, to develop my skills and to learn varying roles within the University. Senior Management within the University have always supported my wish to develop professionally and have actively identified potential career pathways that would benefit both the University and my own developmental aspirations. I have been incredibly fortunate to progress from a Grade 4 admin role to my current Grade 7 clinical supervisor role and I hope to be able to continue to advance my career whilst continuing to support the University and student population.

My decision to become involved in the Athena SWAN project was in the hope that I could contribute to the development of other individual's careers, and that I could help to highlight the fantastic support system that Teesside University provide for all employees. I believe that Teesside University employs highly skilled and dedicated staff, who don't always fully appreciate the opportunities that are available to them, and in some instances seem to think that career aspirations need to fall into gender stereotypes that exist in society generally. I have not experienced any gender discrimination within Teesside University - my experience has been that individuals are “picked out� for promotion and projects based upon their skills and experience. I would like to ensure that more Professional Support staff are aware of the opportunities available to them and to work with lower grade staff to help them to identify areas for development and career progression.

Jo Heaton-Marriott

Director (CCPR)

Jo Heaton-Marriott

I've always had a real passion for equality and in particular the need for gender diversity in the workplace. As a microbiologist, I've been aware of the outdated ‘scientist' stereotype and the impact this has on diversity within STEM, especially the gender balance in some disciplines. These preconceptions are detrimental to the ambitions of future generations, who often look for ‘people like them' to inspire their life choices. Athena SWAN is one tool for helping us to assess where we may still be failing to address these deep-rooted societal inequalities and identify areas for much-needed change.

Olivia Heron

Assistant Curator, MIMA

Olivia Heron

At MIMA we strive for our collections, exhibitions, and public programme to embody and promote values of equality and diversity. We pay attention to historical inequalities in art and culture, to build a more inclusive and relevant institution. I wanted to be part of Teesside University’s Athena SWAN action team to understand how organisations can plan for equality at strategic level and across the sector, and consider how MIMA's existing work connects with this framework.

Professor Simon Hodgson

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)

Professor Simon Hodgson

I am committed to inclusivity and ensuring that everyone can positively engage in development opportunities. As our Bronze Award shows, Teesside has a strong heritage in supporting inclusivity. However, there are still challenges and in line with much of the sector, research is an area where more needs to be done to address gender bias. As PVC for Research and Innovation, I am committed to growing our research base, in particular encouraging more female staff to take on research roles and harnessing the potential of to increase the number of females in senior research roles.

Yasser Iqbal

Senior Lecturer in Operations Management/Project Management

Yasser Iqbal

Professor Amelia Lake

School of Health & Life Sciences

Amelia Lake

Athena SWAN is about creating a health happy workplace for everyone.

Through the lens of Athena SWAN we can critically look at our structures and procedures. It gives us goals to aim higher and do better than we currently are.

I am passionate about building capacity and enabling people to do the best they can. Athena SWAN to me is about the fact that we need to fit work and life together.

I have worked part-time for 6 years and am convinced that we need to embrace and appreciate part-time workers (both men and women) acknowledging the contribution they make throughout our university

Khin Lwin

Principal Lecturer (Research & Innovation)

Grant McGeechan

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Grant McGeechan

Sharon Paterson

Assistant Director (Culture & Engagement)
Athena SWAN lead (MIMA)

Sharon Paterson

Carole Schubert

Principal Lecturer Learning & Teaching

Carole Schubert

I am committed to the principles of Athena SWAN and the organisations intention to enable all staff to thrive and achieve in the organisation. Athena SWAN is more than “looking good� – this is about “being good�. I am enthusiastic to work in an organisation which is open to change, seeks to work in flexible ways and ensures that its processes and values positively promote and celebrate diversity

Emma Teare

Senior Lecturer in Law

Emma Teare

Professor Tim Thompson

Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)
Athena SWAN co-lead
School of Health & Life Sciences

Professor Tim Thompson

Joanne Wrigley

Assessor

Joanne Wrigley

I am a professional support staff champion and am committed to the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. I am a particularly keen promoter of work-life balance, which is advocated by Athena SWAN.

Throughout my career I have held several roles supporting disabled students within the higher education arena, joining Teesside University in 2002. I am currently employed as a Study Skills and Strategy Tutor working on a part time basis.

Departmental awards

As well as an institutional Bronze award, Teesside University is working towards departmental awards. We have appointed champions and all Schools have an Athena SWAN team, led by a senior member of staff.

  • MIMA: Sharon Paterson, Associate Director (Culture & Engagement)
  • School of Computing, Engineering & Design: Professor Nash Dawood, Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)
  • School of Health & Life Sciences: Susy Cook, Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching), Professor Tim Thompson, Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)
  • School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law: Dr Matt Watson, Head of Department (psychology)
  • Teesside University Business School: Elaine Fryett, Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching)

All Schools are currently working on their submissions. It is our aim that all Schools have an award by 2022.

November 2020

School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law

April 2021

School of Health & Life Sciences
MIMA School of Art & Design

November 2021

School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies
Teesside University Business School

Athena SWAN projects

The Athena SWAN strategy sets out an ambition to empower staff and drive cultural change. It's the intention that we live the values and principles of Athena SWAN by identifying and delivering strategic projects that realise impact.

In 2020 six projects have been identified:

  • Exploring the potential of sabbaticals
  • Enhanced mentoring focused on career development
  • Flexible/agile working (sector leading piece)
  • Career progression for fixed term RAs
  • Mentoring/sharing good practice with industry

In addition to this, some of Schools have embarked on their own projects:

  • Women in Research Network (School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law)
  • Talent management programme (School of Health & Life Sciences)
  • Seeing Red (School of Health & Life Sciences)

If you would like to be involved in any of the projects please contact our Athena SWAN coordinator at athenaswan@tees.ac.uk.