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LHCS Athena Swan actions

Engagement with the process

Representation on the Self-Assessment Team (SAT)

  • Work towards equal representation of men and women on the SAT
  • Recruit lecturer grade SAT member
  • Advertise the SAT to our undergraduate students; recruit student representative.
  • Recruit AL representative.

Supporting the AS Champions network

  • As part of the Institutional initiative to support an Athena Swan champions network, LHCS SAT will buddy another School preparing an AS submission.


Actions relating to our students


  • Ensure balanced representation of men and women in new Health Sciences curriculum, particularly with respect to employability materials.
  • Investigate and mitigate the factors affecting performance of Q71 students studying at high intensity by developing appropriate advice and interventions.
  • For core L2 and L3 Chemistry modules, determine whether the relationship between performance in continuous assessment and likelihood of withdrawal is gender-dependent and develop targeted interventions to align completion rates and pass rates for both genders.
  • Monitor impact of any changes to the degree classification algorithm by gender.
  • Record UG student research activity facilitated or supported by the School and destination of these students postgraduation.

Taught postgraduate

  • Investigate performance of MSc students relative to their first degree, focusing on OU graduates.


Actions relating to all staff


  • Promote uptake of new mentoring scheme for all staff.


  • Promote LHCS survival guide to all new staff.
  • Follow up on induction to check complete.

Increasing awareness of EDIA issues

  • Highlight OU diversity objectives and practices in new staff induction.
  • Improve reach of Unconscious Bias training among LHCS staff
  • Extend Unconscious bias training to ALs; particularly important as they are the main point of contact with students.

Data collection and analysis

  • Collect data on merit awards and scrutinise for any disparities by gender.


Actions relating to academic and research staff

Key career transition points:

  • Investigation of factors that cause gender inequality in salary
  • Improve recording procedures and level of detail on progress of promotion applications.
  • Monitor the impact of the new AL contract on the career pipeline from AL to regional academic; ensure gender-balanced promotion of staff development opportunities for ALs interested in applying for regional academic positions in LHCS.
  • Improve descriptions of the regional academic role for potential applicants with no experience of the OU.


  • Ensure PDRA academic development support is embedded and becomes business as usual at Faculty level.


  • LHCS Promotions committee to investigate why men are less successful than women in obtaining promotion to senior lecturer.
  • Compare success rates with other Schools to determine if LHCS process is supporting men and women equally well.
  • Develop and support Pathways to Professorship.
  • Focus group for senior lecturers / readers to gauge opinion on the perceived obstacles to seeking promotion.

Appraisal Process:

  • Gather more detailed information on perceptions of the CDSA process; identify ways in which it could be improved that are within the control of the School and implement these changes.
  • Focus group on CDSA process.

Supporting research:

  • Investigate if lower bidding activity / outputs for women is explained by differences in research time
  • More detailed analysis of research outputs by gender.

Participation on influential external committees:

  • Improve data collection on membership of external committees and external examiner roles and develop new ways to promote these activities, particularly among regional academics.

Workload model:

  • Lobby at Faculty level to have some contingency included in workload allocations.
  • Investigate how individuals record their actual workloads and develop more consistent guidance for staff on recording such data.
  • Investigate whether increases in time spent on teaching activities over and above time allocated is due to extra unplanned-for activities or inadequate time allocated for teaching activities.


Actions relating to Professional and Support staff


  • Identify ways in which curriculum support staff can acquire and demonstrate skills sought for higher grades.
  • Faculty Level discussion about opportunities for career progression for Curriculum and Administrative support staff.

Appraisal Process:

  • Hold separate focus groups for different support staff groups to explore issues around appraisal and development opportunities.