As with many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Schools, AACME has under representation of women in both student and staff populations.
To combat this, the School will be continuing its efforts to improve gender balance through recruitment and retention across all levels, from undergraduates to senior academics.
In an initiative to improve recruitment of female undergraduates, the School has introduced dedicated summer schools with places reserved for women and launched Biomaterials and Bioengineering programmes, which have resulted in a 34% increase in female students within the Department of Materials.
The School also actively engages with the Women's Engineering Society (WES) by providing financial sponsorship, attending their events and seeking their advice via membership of our Self-Assessment Team.
An ongoing project is to improve academic recruitment processes, such as setting female shortlisting requirements and using searches to identify female professors. Additionally, the School has organised workshops and focus groups to listen to staff about their experience of the EDI culture at Loughborough.
Speaking about the award Aisha Benachour, newly appointed Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the School said:
“We are delighted and proud the School has achieved this award. We are committed to supporting and encouraging our future engineers from all walks of life to realise their potential and create a more inclusive environment for everyone.
“We have identified key goals and initiatives and by working together, we will ensure our School is representative of the diverse society around us and one that attracts and retains excellent staff and students alike.”
This is the first time the School of AACME has received an Athena SWAN award in its own right, and it joins other Schools across the institution that have been recognised by the initiative.
The Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality within institutions and their departments, inspiring action plans to drive forward representation, progress and success for all.
More information about Athena SWAN can be found here.