All Athena Swan applications must be based on a thorough self-assessment of your department’s current position in relation to gender equality and the progress that you have made since a previous award, where applicable. The Self-Assessment Team (SAT) is responsible for reviewing quantitative and qualitative data to support the self-assessment and also acts as a ‘steering group’ for the Athena Swan application process, including identifying priority areas for action and reviewing drafts of the application and action plan.
The SAT should meet regularly – at least once per term, and more frequently (eg. monthly) in the year before submission of your application.
The SAT should be representative of your department as far as possible, in terms of gender balance, with different levels of seniority and different staff and student groups represented, to ensure that a variety of perspectives are taken into account. As a minimum, SAT members usually include:
- Academic lead for Athena Swan/EDI
- Professional/support staff lead for Athena Swan/EDI – this could be an Athena Swan or EDI Officer, an HR Manager or a departmental administrator
- Head of Administration and Finance or equivalent
- Head of Department
- A representative of academic staff
- A representative of research staff
- A representative of professional and support staff
- At least one student representative – undergraduate, Masters and/or DPhil student (depending on whether your department offers degree programmes at all levels)
- Divisional Athena Swan/EDI co-ordinator
How you select members for the SAT will depend on the circumstances and practices in your own department. Some members will sit on the SAT by virtue of their role in the department (eg. EDI Officer or HAF) or because they already have a role as a staff or student representative on a relevant departmental committee. However, it is recommended that at least some SAT members are selected via an open call for expressions of interest. You may wish to ask people to write a short statement about why they are interested in the role and any relevant experience they have, to help you make a selection if there are more expressions of interest than available places.
It is useful to be clear about how long members will serve on the SAT. This varies between departments and roles, but between 1 and 3 years is usual.
Increasingly, departments have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee or equivalent, which also functions as a self-assessment team for Athena Swan. You may wish to form a separate SAT in the run-up to an application or make use of sub-groups or working groups to focus on particular themes related to the application.