swan upping

Picture taken by me in the street . No rights reserved.

Edinburgh is one of 100 universities and research institutes which are members of the SWAN Charter. The Charter is open to any university or research institute which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, engineering, technology  and mathematics (STEM) in higher education and research.

Athena -SWAN accrediation is only available to academic departments, and now that the University is doing so well the focus has begun to turn to the support units.  This week some of the University of Edinburgh IT Directors began early thinking about the swan-like positions we might assume in the future.

The challenge of course is that ( possibly) unlike other central support departments, the feeder disciplines for working in IT are STEM; so we recruit from the same pool, and there are many more attractive opportunities in industry on offer to the few female technology graduates coming out of our universities.

Another challenge is the focus on advancement and promotion. The structures for this are very different in the academic departments to those in the support units. I read in the THE this week that most dons ‘haven’t the slightest idea’ to whom they report, whereas we spend hours, days and weeks ensuring that line management lines are clear. There are no chances of promotion if your organigram is out of date.

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