Gender equality charter mark
Department analysis and action template
Analysis and action relating to academic staff only is required for the completion of this template
Level of award applied for
Professor of Latin, Head of Department
0207 679 4575
All data in the data template should be given for the past three years. Where data is unavailable, please provide explanations in the suitable section of this submission.
Provide a summary of your department, including the information requested below and any other contextual information that you feel is relevant to your submission.
Summary should include:
brief details of the number of staff and students
location details, particularly if split over a number of buildings or sites, and comment on how this affects staff
size of the department in relation to other arts, humanities and social science departments in the institution
how research groups are organised
ratios of men and women in on departmental senior management team
The Department of Greek and Latin at University College London (UCL) currently consists of 11 permanent academic staff, 3 permanent administrative staff
, 2 post-doctoral research fellows and 2 fixed-term teaching fellows. Additionally, each year there are about 3 or 4 part-time teaching fellows and 5 to 10 of the department’s PhD students, who work as Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.
The Department offers a BA in Classics (with or without a year abroad), a BA in Ancient World (with or without a year abroad), an MA in Classics and an MA in the Reception of the Classical World as well as a research degree. In 2012/13 there were 132 undergraduate students, 23 postgraduate taught students (MA) and 28 postgraduate research students (PhD) registered. There were also some affiliate students and students registered with other departments taking modules from Greek and Latin.
The Department of Greek and Latin is not the smallest in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL, but considerably smaller than, e.g., the Department of English or the School of European Languages and Cultures. In contrast to other universities offering the full range of classical subjects, these are spread over several departments at UCL: the Department of Greek and Latin covers languages and literatures of the classical world as well as the reception of antiquity, the Department of History is responsible for ancient history, and the Institute of Archaeology does material culture. Greek and Latin cooperates closely with colleagues in those departments, and the BA in Ancient World involves modules from all three participating departments. The distribution over different departments means that Greek and Latin is fairly small and cohesive with all staff pursuing research projects in overlapping disciplinary fields.
The department is located in Gordon House on the central Bloomsbury Campus. All staff are housed closely together in a single building, which creates a close-knit community and a sense of belonging. While, due to its age and design, the building poses problems for people with mobility impairments, the key areas of the department are located on the ground floor and are accessible to all, including a common room for undergraduate students, a common room for postgraduate students, a kitchen for staff and the departmental office.
The department’s size results in an open, friendly and familiar atmosphere. All staff regularly interact and discuss work and other issues. Staff (male and female) know students by name and are interested in their development.
Like most humanities departments, Greek and Latin does not have formal research groups. Staff pursue their own research or collaborate with colleagues elsewhere in UCL or at other institutions.
The department does not have a formal senior management team; instead, due to the small size, all members of staff in the department are invited to all regular committee meetings (e.g. general departmental meeting, departmental teaching committee, research committee), and administrative duties (such as Admissions Tutor, Departmental Tutor, Graduate Tutor) are shared between academic staff. The Head of Department has overall responsibility for the operation of the department. Of the 11 permanent academic staff 5 are male and 6 are female, of the three administrative staff 1 is male and 2 are female.
Summary, word count: 524
A To address gender inequalities, commitment and action at all levels of the institution is required
Senior management support
Letter of endorsement from the head of department. Please send with template.
Silver and gold
Evidence of actions taken by the head of department to support/promote the gender equality charter mark. Please send letter with template
Describe the self-assessment process including information on members of the self-assessment team.
All members in the department were involved, to varying degrees, in the self-assessment process, since the decision to participate in the trial, reflect on gender equality and highlight good practice in the department was a collective one, taken at a departmental meeting in late summer 2013.
The drafting of the application and the development of an action plan were carried out by the self-assessment team, with full support of the entire department.
The team includes early-career, mid-career and senior academic staff as well as administrative staff and student representatives. Some have long-standing experience of managing the mix of teaching and administrative workloads with research; some have current experience of the challenges of early career and research development. Some are single, some are from dual career families and have to combine childcare responsibilities with work commitments of both partners. Many have close family living abroad. All members of the team have contributed to the self-assessment process and are committed to realizing future initiatives as detailed in the action plan, according to which all members of staff in the self-assessment team will take responsibility for at least one of the actions.
The self-assessment team reviewed the data over many years and the historical transformation within the department. Many initiatives and changes in departmental culture were identified (described in later sections). The department has been conscious of the importance of gender and work-life balance for some time, but there is no reason to be complacent. The process of reflection and considering further improvements has become more formalised since the beginning of the academic year 2013/14, when the department joined the gender charter mark trial.
In addition to frequent exchanges of ideas via email, the team has met several times since October 2013 (twice each term) for discussion of the challenges in general, the situation in the department and work on the application. It has also sought the views of other members of staff and of students by email and in a survey and reported back to the department at departmental meetings. This was felt to be a helpful process, and gender equality and work-life balance issues will now become a standing item on the agenda for departmental meetings, to be revisited at least annually (see action 1).
The Head of Department has initiated a discussion of gender equality issues at Faculty level at one of the regular meetings of Heads of Department within the Faculty to encourage sharing of best practice. All attendees found this a useful experience, and it has informed the Faculty’s Equality and Diversity Action Plan. Negotiations are now under way to turn Equality and Diversity into a regular item on the agenda of this forum, to be revisited at least annually (see action 8). The Head of Department will also aim to raise awareness of gender equality issues across the institution, for instance by discussions at the ‘Leadership Forum’ meetings of all Heads of Departments and through her membership of the institution’s working group for gender equality. While there are different challenges in the sciences and in the arts and humanities and social sciences, it seems that the various disciplines can learn from each other; and some departments might provide an inspiration for others. The Department of Greek and Latin aspires to be a beacon in this regard (see action 11).
Section A, word count: 660
B The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the institution will examine
Ratio of men and women in:
How does line management work in the department? How are line managers chosen, do the roles rotate?
Academic departmental senior management team (see table T3)
6 men, 8 women (i.e. all academic staff)
Academic teaching and learning committee or equivalent (see table T4)
6 men, 8 women (i.e. all academic staff)
All junior administrative staff report to the Departmental Administrator, research associates on externally funded research projects report to the Principal Investigator. The Departmental Administrator and all academic staff report to the Head of Department. The position of Departmental Administrator is a permanent one; changes only occur when the person in post decides to move on or retires. According to Faculty practice the position of Head of Department rotates among all senior academic staff every three to five years; all members of staff are consulted in the selection process.
What is the department doing to address gender imbalance on committees? What success/progress has been made?
Because of its relatively small size, the department does not have any standing sub-committees attended only by a limited number of staff. All committees are open to all academic staff and are attended by at least one member of administrative staff. Since the department has a good gender balance overall, this is replicated on its committees.
For ad-hoc committees and working groups, such as appointment or scholarship committees, which may consist of only a few members, it is ensured that there is a broad mix of backgrounds, including representation of both genders. Institutional policy requires at least 25% women on all recruitment panels. This minimum requirement is usually exceeded in this department: for instance, a recent recruitment panel for a professorial appointment consisted of 50% women and 50% men.
Where there is an imbalance, what is the department doing to ensure a broad range of views are heard?
The department has an open discussion culture, and everyone’s views are welcome. Efforts are made that everyone is kept fully informed of developments in higher education and the institution and of departmental plans. Staff who attend institution-wide meetings report back by email or at departmental meetings and invite comments. Major policy decisions are made only after consultation with all members of staff. This happens mainly at committee meetings, where contributions by everyone are encouraged; those who cannot attend may comment by email. If matters have to be decided in between meetings, emails are sent to all staff asking for views. Suggestions from both academic and administrative staff are equally valued and taken into account.
How is consideration for gender equality embedded in the thinking and processes of committees and their related structures and procedures?
A few years ago, the previous Head of Department moved the times for all meetings from late afternoon to lunchtime on days when teaching finishes at lunchtime, to enable everyone to attend, especially colleagues with caring or childcare commitments (of whom she was one). Drafts of papers or policies are communicated by email to all colleagues in good time.
By formalizing its policies (see action 1) the department hopes that such an inclusive and considerate culture with respect to all structures and procedures will be continued even if there is a change in leadership.
What training and induction is provided to committee members and those with decision-making powers?
Since, because of the size of this department, all committees are open to all staff, there is no particular training for ordinary committee members beyond the general induction (see section D) and advice to take advantage of the wide range of training courses offered by the institution; according to institutional policy staff are meant to attend at least three training events per year and log them.
Those with leadership positions (e.g. Head of Department, Deputy Head of Department, Director of Research, Departmental Tutor) or carrying out particular functions are given specific training appropriate to the role. This includes mandatory technical and administrative training, but also highly recommended courses offered by the institution on issues such as leadership, management, unconscious bias, assertiveness and appraisals, which several members of this department have attended. For Heads of Department there is an extensive induction programme run by the institution, and they have access to mentoring, coaching and peer-group support. All staff to sit on recruitment panels have to attend a recruitment and selection briefing provided by the institution, which has a section on the Equality Act. Several members of staff have done training to sit on and chair grievance panels (which includes a section on equality and unconscious bias), and they regularly serve in this function: they all report that experiencing what has gone wrong in other departments has made them more aware of possible pitfalls and made them prevent similar situations in their own department.
Section B, word count: 667
C That employment policies, practices and procedures should actively promote gender equality
How is gender equality considered in the development and implementation of departmental policies, practices and procedures?
Decisions on key departmental policies are taken by the entire department at departmental meetings, after consultation and discussion at previous departmental meetings, in working groups or via email. Since all members of the department are involved in the decision-making process, it is ensured that voices of men and women and of people with and without caring responsibilities are heard. Thus it is made sure at an early stage that policies and procedures will not have a negative effect on any particular group; after implementation the effects are monitored regularly (see following subsection).
This system has led to a number of procedures supported by the entire department, which show that commitment to gender equality is taken seriously. For instance, the department has a rigorous appointment process that looks for the best person according to the job description and person specification, regardless of background including gender. The department supports staff who wish to work remotely whenever possible to combine work with, e.g., caring responsibilities. This was one of the reasons why all coursework on undergraduate and taught postgraduate level now has to be submitted also in electronic form, so that it can be marked anywhere without the need for posting material, and why documents are now circulated digitally in advance of committee meetings. The department uses Skype calls for discussions with staff and students and occasionally interviews when people are not able to travel in.
How does the department monitor the effect of policies, practices and procedures on gender equality? What steps does it take when positive and/or negative impact is found?
Since decisions on key departmental policies are taken by the entire department, the foreseeable potential impacts can be highlighted and flagged up before the planned policy is introduced and the plans modified where necessary. All aspects of newly introduced policies, particularly their impact on both staff (academic and administrative) and students, are regularly reviewed at subsequent departmental meetings, research committee meetings or departmental teaching committee meetings. For instance, last academic year, in response to student requests, all teachers offered an extra revision session just before the final exams, although this meant more work for academic staff at a busy time of year and a huge effort in timetabling for administrative staff. When the policy was revisited at the next departmental teaching committee meeting, it was felt by both students and staff that the additional benefit was minimal in relation to the extra workload, and it was decided to return to the previous system for this academic year.
Because of the existing mechanisms and because of its small size, the department does not monitor the specific impact on gender equality formally, but regularly reflects on its practices at various meetings. As a result of the work of the self-assessment team it has now been agreed to formalize this process; when gender equality becomes a standing item on the agenda of departmental meetings, this will include review of relevant departmental policies (see action 1).
This will also help to monitor positive or negative impact more precisely, which is currently based on formal and informal feedback from staff. Still, this provides sufficient information to allow the department to continue schemes with positive impact and to extend them where possible. For instance, the decision to move meetings to lunchtime was felt to be beneficial to everyone; departmental seminars have now been restructured as two research afternoons a year; it will also be investigated whether the London-wide seminars could also be moved to more family-friendly times. Electronic submission of student coursework was welcomed widely by staff, for the greater flexibility it creates for marking, especially over the summer; this has now been extended to all assessed work for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses.
If negative impact is found or anticipated, alternatives are considered immediately. For instance, the processes for the distribution of course evaluation questionnaires and report forms to monitor student progress have recently been simplified, to reduce the workload for administrative staff and to enable academic staff to complete as much administrative work as possible remotely at a time that suits them.
Section C, word count: 651
D There are personal and structural obstacles to making the transition from undergraduate level to PhD and then into senior academic positions and managerial levels, which require the active consideration of the institution
See Athena SWAN factsheet: best practice: work-life balance (www.athenaswan.org.uk/content/factsheets)
Comment and reflect on the following student data for the past three years:
Ratio of students by gender on access or foundation courses (see table T5). Describe initiatives to attract men or women.
Ratio of first degree undergraduate, other undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research (see table T1 or T6) students (full and part time) by gender in comparison to national picture for the discipline (See subject information on pages 38 – 53 of ECU Equality in higher education: statistical report: Part2 Students). Describe initiatives to attract men or women.
Ratio of first degree undergraduate, other undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research applicants and offers made by gender (see table T7). Describe any initiatives/actions taken to address any imbalance and their effect to date
Degree classification of first degree and other undergraduate qualifiers by gender (see table T8). Describe actions being taken to ensure assessment processes are unbiased.
At all degree levels offered by this department (undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research) there are more women than men. With some minor fluctuation across year-groups and degree programmes the ratio is about 60% female and 40% male. That female students outnumber male students is common in humanities subjects. In languages the split tends to be 70:30; so here the distribution is more even.
The percentages for applications and offer holders are roughly the same. However, in the last few years the percentage of females studying has been higher than the percentage among offer holders. Reasons may include that more male offer holders failed to make the grades; or, since the main competitors for a Classics degree at this institution are Oxford and Cambridge, male students could be more likely to accept offers from those places. More research will have to be done into why or why not young people accept their offers. The department has now increased its ‘keep-warm’ activities and set up a dedicated webpage for offer-holders with information about the transition from school to university and ways to prepare; it is hoped that this will help and encourage prospective students to take up their places.
More female undergraduate students than male ones get first-class and upper second-class degrees. This matches the higher number of female undergraduate students. There is no mismatch either way. Fluctuations in actual numbers are explained by the different sizes of cohorts overall.
In line with institutional policy all assessments are marked anonymously as far as possible (supervision of dissertations and oral presentations obviously cannot be anonymous), and all pieces of assessment are scrutinized by a second internal marker and an external marker.
The department encourages all able undergraduate students to continue with a MA or PhD regardless of gender. In addition to information and recruitment events run by the institution and the Faculty, the department hosts a postgraduate open evening in January each year, where information about the degrees, the application process and funding is provided and tutors are available for discussion. Additionally, each undergraduate and postgraduate taught student is assigned a personal tutor, whom they meet regularly throughout the year, and career planning is a standard item for these one-to-one meetings.
The department has recently increased its widening participation efforts for its undergraduate programmes, for instance by working with partners to target young people in disadvantaged areas, and tries to attract young people who might not have considered a Classics or Ancient World degree previously. This often applies to men, who might not consider this as a ‘male’ subject or as a good way to start a lucrative career (as in the past). At the same time the institution has several scholarship programmes supporting women, and the department regularly recommends students for these schemes.
Comment, reflect on and explain gender differences in staff data on recruitment job application and success rates (see table T9).
Note differences between levels, and describe any action that is being taken. If the data set is large, please break it down into the different disciplines or units. Where this data is not available explain why.
Comment on how the department’s recruitment processes ensure that female (or male, where appropriate) candidates are encouraged to apply, and how the department ensures its shortlisting, selection processes and criteria comply with the university’s equal opportunities policies.
In line with institutional policy, all appointment panels consist of members of staff who have had the appropriate training and who represent a mix of background in terms of gender, seniority and expertise. Appointments are made solely on the basis of the quality of the application, the information in references, performance at interview and according to how well the candidate matches the job description and person specification. Commitment to the university’s equal opportunities policy has been a standard item in all person specifications for at least five years, which goes above and beyond university policy. Panellists are reminded to make proper allowance for time taken out of careers for parental leave or caring responsibilities and the like. For each candidate appointment panels indicate why or why not they are shortlisted according to the criteria of the job: where possible (e.g. for all administrative posts), scoring is used; checking whether a candidate has, e.g., teaching experience in the relevant area, has a good publication record, has attracted external funding in the past, has had administrative jobs and is familiar with pastoral duties (as appropriate to the point in the candidate’s career) also yields a number of objective assessment criteria.
The response to recent advertisements has often led to a roughly equal number of male and female applicants for academic jobs, and all the resulting shortlists have included men and women. Some specialist positions had a small number of applications from both men and women, and do not provide enough statistical data to draw conclusions.
For administrative jobs there tend to be more applications from women than men, but in the most recent appointment process one of the male applicants exceeded all the other candidates in his performance and was therefore appointed.