The School of Physics and Astronomy actively works towards an environment where all parties can achieve their full potential irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation or disability.
We collect and monitor relevant disaggregated data on many aspects of school life, from undergraduate recruitment to seminar speakers and act accordingly on our findings in an effort to create an equitable working culture.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which meets termly, comprises members from all 4 sub-groups within the school and all career stages from PhD student to the Head of School.
In that context, we are very pleased to support Project Juno, an Institute of Physics initiative that recognises and rewards departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men. The School currently holds Juno Champion status, the highest level of award in this scheme (awarded June 2015, renewed July 2019) having previously attained Practitioner status in February 2012. We were also awarded Athena SWAN Silver status in September 2015.
We represent the School of Physics and Astronomy within the Faculty of Science and Engineering EDI Committee.
In addition to the QMUL-wide policies in support of equality, flexible working, a generous maternity package and access to an on-site nursery with discounted rates, the SPA have implemented a number of school specific policies to enhance the working environment and support excellence from all members of the school.
The School supports Flexible Working for all staff and facilitates this by requiring meetings to be held within core hours (10am-4pm). Professional Staff are able to adjust their daily hours by arrangement with their line managers and academic staff organise their own time as appropriate around teaching or administrative commitments.
We are also proud to offer our MaternityPlus initiative: supporting female academics taking maternity leave for the first time in their role with up to 15 months funding for a Research Associate. As well as continuing the day-to-day research, the Research Associate will help with postgraduate supervision, maintain contact with collaborators, keep abreast of developments in the field and assist the academic in returning to work after her leave. All staff returning to work after a prolonged period of absence, and new academics, will be given lighter teaching and administrative loads and other factors are also considered (eg. priorities requests for PhD studentships).
We take a strong interest in the professional development of all staff members. In addition to participation in the QMUL-wide appraisal scheme, all academics are offered one-to-one meetings with the Head of School and assignment of a mentor in addition to their line manager. Staff are encouraged to continue their professional development throughout their career and School will provide funding for all reasonable requests for training courses etc. New academics are also required to pass the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), and are supported by a lighter teaching load and dedicated probation mentor as they work towards this award offered through the Centre for Academic and Professional Development.
The School operates a Workload Allocation Model, which is regularly reviewed to ensure all staff are fairly credited for their teaching and administrative efforts.