Eight UCD Schools receive Athena SWAN Bronze Awards

The UCD School of Medicine, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, and UCD College of Engineering and Architecture, comprised of six schools, have achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Awards for their commitment to gender equality.

The awards acknowledges work done to improve gender equality and representation.  

The Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) is a charter created to recognise and encourage commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEM. They were established in 2005. But in May 2015, they have expanded to include the arts and humanities, social science, law and business. 

This brings the number of schools in UCD who have received the honour to 12. In 2017, UCD received the Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award for its recognition of issues on gender equality and creating an action to tackle these problems. 

Another nine Schools and one College are now seeking the recognition of the award. This marks the second round of UCD schools that have received the Bronze award. 

Professor Orla Feely, Chair of UCD’s Gender Equality Action Group and UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact has said that: “Diversity is one of the core values in UCD’s strategy, and one of our strategic objectives is the attraction and retention of an excellent and diverse cohort of students, faculty and staff,” 

“The Athena SWAN process is central to our ability to deliver on this objective and deliver on UCD’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.” 

She congratulated the Schools that won the award as well: “I am delighted to congratulate the Schools that have achieved this success on the basis of their commitment to delivering gender equality, encouraging greater female participation in STEM and ultimately making UCD a more inclusive place to work and study for everyone.” 

UCD to introduce Postgraduate Student advisor

UCD has announced that there will be a student advisor for research postgraduate students,

starting in November. They will be serving the roughly 1,600 students currently enrolled in research based postgraduate courses. Student Advisors provide support and advice to students within the many structures and supports in UCD so that they may achieve their academic goals.

Speaking to The University Observer, Aisling O’Grady, head of student advisory service, said “I came into the post three years ago, and it was one of the things I was looking at, when we created new posts that the postgraduate research students would be in need…and when a new post became available that’s where it went”.

UCDSU began lobbying for the creation of the role in October 2017 under Graduate Officer Niall Torris, who subsequently included this lobbying in his reelection manifesto and a Council motion mandating the Graduate officer to continue this lobbying. Speaking to the The University Observer, Torris said “I’m delighted…[the role] will benefit students greatly”.

Speaking about the impact the new role will have, current Graduate Officer Conor Anderson said “When casework falls onto the Graduate Officer,…I am not a trained counselor, I am not a trained advisor…so having a student advisor role [is beneficial]”.

Second UCDSU Council held

The second UCDSU council was held on the 21st of October. Discussion began with the idea of a Council Ball being held – that being a special ball only for class reps, college officers and sabbatical officers, no agreement was reached. Joshua Climax, college officer for the School of Engineering gave a powerpoint presentation on the new running track, which would remove car parking spaces, and what UCDSU could do to encourage those who live locally to commute or cycle in to college. There was a lengthy debate as to the merits of this approach, after which no agreement was reached. President Joanna Siewierska gave a talk on her work helping students in Direct Provision.

Elections for various co-ordinators and college officers were held. A discussion was held on being able to enforce mandates given to sabbatical officers outside of impeachment or IADB. After much discussion, no decision was made. 

The sabbatical officers gave their reports, all of which were approved. Siewierska spoke about the work she has been doing to investigate the rental situation on campus.