The implementation of equality and diversity policies not only represents the full commitment of the department to create a more just and equal environment, but also the willingness to achieve and ensure excellence in all aspects of teaching and research.
We are currently focusing on the following issues:
Childcare facilities on the Strand campus
We want to encourage and support new parents in their return to work or study. Our departmental surveys highlighted the need for those returning to work/study after maternity/paternity leave to have suitable provision on the Strand campus. We believe the increased space provided by the Bush House Buildings should be seen as an opportunity for King’s to provide childcare facilities and to show a real commitment towards addressing caring issues that many staff and students face.
Why do you care about caring?
On June 10th 2015, fourteen SSHM members joined a lunch meeting organised by the SSHM Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC) to discuss issues related to “care”. The goal of the meeting was to gather a better insight into perspectives, concerns and experiences around parental leave, childcare and care for others (partners, parents, older offspring) from SSHM members. The discussion was lively and many important issues were discussed, including: the lack of clarity about “right to request” vs “right to be granted” flexible working conditions; the need for formal training for mentors and line managers on how to handle caring issues; the need for childcare facilities at both Strand and Waterloo campuses; the importance of a buddy scheme for parents and carers; the necessity to tackle issues regarding long-term care or unexpected care; the need for contacts at funding institutions dedicated to answering questions about caring issues.
The EDC is in the process of discussing these issues with King’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit to assure that these questions and concerns receive appropriate answers.
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Probation and Promotion
At an SSHM workshop on career development and promotion processes, concerns were raised about the difficulty of obtaining clear information about these procedures.
We have worked with colleagues in HR and the Faculty to improve the information on probation and promotion processes and they are now more easily discoverable on the KCL website.
Workload Allocation Model
We have developed our Workload Allocation Model (WAM) to include all pastoral roles, outreach and citizenship roles. Our new model allows us to analyse by gender and grade; and includes all academic and research staff. Reports are updated and sent out termly so staff can discuss workload with their mentors/personal development reviewers. Further developments are planned to better account for research time and to differentiate between types of roles, for instance, Faculty and University roles that will offer staff greater networking and development opportunities.
Staff Culture Survey and Student Culture Survey
The aim of these surveys is to help university departments understand how people experience their working/studying environment and which actions may be needed to improve gender equality in their department. It is designed for academic and non-academic staff, students, at all stages of their careers. The strucure of the survey was suggested by the ECU team and elaborated by the WISE team. In this annual survey all staff and students are invited to share their experience, knowledge and views on how the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine (SSHM) promotes and manages equality.
The surveys were first launched in 2014. In 2015, additional questions were added to the surveys to understand whether SSHM staff experienced any changes with regards to equality culture and practice in comparison to the previous year.
Mid-career development strategies
Through our work on the GEM award, we are aware there are many personal and structural obstacles to making the transition from undergraduate level to PhD and then into senior academic positions and managerial levels. We utilised our in-house expertise and ran a workshop on mid-career development strategies with Dr Kelly Coate form the King’s Learning Institute to discuss ‘the prestige economy’ and ways of better shaping our careers. In the wake of this workshop, the EDC is engaged in thinking through strategies for taking action on the issues that were raised.
Academic and Professional Services Performance Framework
Members of the EDC involved with the Strategy workstream are actively involved with the development and implementation the Academic Performance Framework (APF) and Professional Services Performance Framework (PSPF). Through our involvement with these committees we are able to influence decision-making and ensure equality issues are embedded.