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Equality and diversity

The School of Physical Sciences seeks to maintain the highest standards in teaching, research and enterprise. To do this, we are committed to ensuring that staff and students work within an environment which is inclusive, where people are treated with dignity and respect, where inequalities are challenged, and where we anticipate and respond positively to different needs and circumstances so that everyone can achieve their potential.

These values are in accordance with the Open University’s mission of being ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’ and its values of inclusivity, innovation and responsiveness.

All staff and students in the School therefore commit to:

  • Treat others with dignity and respect, mindful of the diverse School community
  • Adopt a professional attitude at all times to create a positive working environment
  • Listen to and support each other
  • Be sensitive to, and considerate of, others in everything we say and do
  • Respect the views of those who hold different opinions from our own, and where possible seek out such views before voicing our own opinions.
  • Endeavour to keep our promises which are both honest and realistic
  • Respect each other’s time and personal space, maintaining confidentiality at appropriate times.
  • Constructively challenge behaviour that does not fit this framework

The School has a duty of care to its members, and all members have a duty of care to each other to ensure there is no discrimination or exclusion on the basis of protected characteristics and experiences, including, but not limited to: age, disability, caring and dependency responsibilities, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership status, political opinion, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, trade union membership or other distinctions.

The School is proud to be a Project Juno Champion and holder of an Athena SWAN Silver School award to demonstrate our commitment to addressing the under-representation of women in STEM, particularly Physics and subjects aligned to Physics.

Therefore we also adhere to the six Juno Principles and the Athena SWAN Charter.

Diversity in SPS

Dr James Schwanethal

Dr James Schwanethal of SPS talks about their experience of living with an autism diagnosis and how, with the right support, individuals with neurodiverse conditions can be a huge benefit to organisations. This talk was given at TEDxOpenUniversity.

Professor Sally Jordan

Professor Sally Jordan of SPS talks about her unconventional career in STEM and how the right support mechanisms can enable women to succeed against the odds. This talk was given as part of the OpenTalk STEM series.

Success Stories

Dr Anita Dawes

Dr Anita Dawes of SPS discusses her research, her career journey, and why she feels her teaching at the OU is such an amazing way to make a difference in our students’ experience.

Dr Jesper Skottfelt

Dr Jesper Skottfelt of SPS explains his work at the Centre for Electronic Imaging (CEI) on detectors for space missions, and why they need to be tested so rigourously for every circumstance they might encounter in a radiation environment in space.

Dr Rhian Chapman

Dr Rhian Chapman explains the planetary science work she carried out while a PhD student in SPS, on the atmosphere on Mars, including dust storms and computer simulations which aim to understand climate changes through the seasons.