School of Computing and Digital Technology recognised for progress on gender equality

The School of Computing and Digital Technology (CDT) has been awarded an Athena Swan Charter Institutional Bronze award for its commitment to progressing gender equality. The wider university has also had its Bronze award renewed until 2027.

The Athena Swan Charter is the UK’s primary framework for recognising commitment to and progress on gender equality in higher education and research, advancing representation, progression and success for all.

CDT is the fifth School at BCU to achieve the accolade since 2019, while the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment (CEBE) is the first to have all of its schools accredited by Athena Swan.

Fifth school achieves Bronze Award

CDT joins the Schools of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, Social Sciences, and Engineering and Built Environment as Bronze award holders.

The award confirms the School’s adherence and continuous aspiration to Athena Swan diversity and inclusion principles

The School’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team, led by Lecturer in Software Engineering Dr Sara Hassan, undertook an extensive data collection and analysis exercise within the department, which helped establish the Equality, Diversion and Inclusion (EDI) status of the department.

Dr Sara Hassan said: “The 18-month journey to attain this award has been insightful and enlightening. We undertook a long and diligent data collection and analysis exercise in the department, which helped us create a clear action plan for how to further embed Athena Swan principles in the department over the next five years.”

Associate Dean of CEBE Professor Nick Morton said: “We are delighted to have received this recognition for the School, and therefore to have secured successful outcomes across the Faculty. We are particularly keen to counter the view of our subject areas as traditionally male domains, and these awards are a testament to the tremendous efforts of both schools to ensure opportunities are open to all staff and students, alongside our long-standing commitment to initiatives such as Women In Computing (WIC) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

“This award also reflects the exceptional leadership given to the project by Sara, and the hard work of the whole school team."

Bronze renewed with five-year action plan

BCU was first awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Institutional award in May 2016, in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality through a four-year Action Plan (2016-2020).

The renewal process required rigorous data analysis, a frank appraisal of performance against the Action Plan and Award criteria, and the development of an ambitious new five-year Action Plan. 

The University’s submission presented a unique insight into the gender profile of university activities, including promotion practices, outreach activities and committee membership. The external panel commended the evidence of strong energy and enthusiasm for the work of the Charter and framework, including the consideration and collection of intersectional data.

With this success, alongside five departmental Bronze Awards, BCU is a step closer to the threshold required for an Athena Swan Silver Award application.