Meeting – 15 November 2021

After a search for a new member of our committee, today we welcomed Dr Manabu Sakamoto. We then discussed at length how to define an early career researcher. We are mindful of not discriminating against age (and therefore time since PhD) or job role (teaching and scholarship role versus teaching and research role), and we have now a working definition that we will share with the Research Committee at the School level. The reason for defining an early career researcher, is that we want to rejuvenate the early career research committee in the new year.

The next item on the agenda were the student and staff culture surveys: while we are developing a new student culture survey, we are in the process of transferring our staff culture survey from our previous platform, Qualtrics, to our new platform, JISC. As every year, the staff survey should be launched by the end of November.

Finally, we also had an update on Decolonising the Curriculum. While we do not have a Champion for this role yet, we had a group discussion on the various representation, from within and outside the EDI committee, that we would like to see on this new working group.

Spotlight – Dr Jonathan Hughes

Jonathan Hughes with a dinosaur skull
Jonathan Hughes in the lab

My current role is as the technician with responsibility for those practical classes that fall under ecology and zoology, although my background is in molecular biology so I’m often involved in molecular biology and microbiology sessions as well.

I completed my PhD looking at how to improve crop water use efficiency via modulation of the number of stomatal pores in the epidermis of barley, at the department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Sheffield University. This was followed by a brief stint as a secondary school teacher before I joined the University of Lincoln in my current role in 2018.

I decided to become a technician as I really enjoy the hands-on aspects of science and I was also seeking a career with a more favourable work-life balance after being a teacher.

My current role is great as it’s very varied in terms of the different practical classes we offer here. Also, the Ecology and Conservation practical classes provide me with many opportunities to work outdoors which I really enjoy, even if the weather is often uncooperative!

Meeting – 21 September 2021

At our meeting this month we welcomed a new member, Dr Jonathan Hughes, representing the technical team on the committee. One of the first items for discussion was the Athena Swan application. Following a delay in our original submission, the application is now with the Eleanor Glanville Centre team for comments and feedback. We expect to revise our application and submit it by the end of November 2021.

The next item on our agenda was “Decolonising the curriculum”. Work on this topic has started at the university level but we have been asked to consider the implications for our teaching strategy, relevant policies as well as equality, diversity and inclusion at the School level. Iain Stott, Carol Rea and Graziella Iossa will represent the EDI committee on a school-wide working group including programme leaders and members of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Committee. The first actions of the working group will include a statement of intent, identifying a champion to take this work forward, and preparing a presentation for the School meeting in October.

There were a few changes in committee membership. Alex Aitken and Paul Eady stepped down and the committee would like to thank them both for their hard work, especially for running the culture survey and establishing a coaching scheme. Meanwhile Ambrose Tinarwo and Mat Goddard joined the mentoring subgroup, and Oliver Burman joined the culture survey subgroup.

Meeting – 11 September 2020

The committee met on the 11th September 2020 to discuss various actions, including the creation of this blog! Following our school-wide call, we welcomed a new member, Dr Ambrose Tinwarno, who is a senior lecturer in the Animal Behaviour and Welfare research group.

New name and chair

In June 2020 the Life Sciences Athena Swan Self Assessment team met virtually and welcomed our new chair, Dr Jenny Dunn, senior lecturer, and several new members: Dr Iain Stott and Dr Teresa Romero, also senior lecturers, Professor Oliver Burman, Dr Franklyn Nkongho, postdoctoral fellow and Bethany Williams, PhD student, both of whom joined the School earlier this year.

The committee thanked the work done by those members who stepped down: Professor Steve Bevan, Head of School, Megan Mortimer, postgraduate students representative, Dr Mike Christie, Co-chair of the committee and Dr Nadia Andreani, early career researchers representative.

The first act of the committee was to change its name to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, to signify our commitment to uphold these values and work towards making our school a welcoming and inclusive place to work for everyone.