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We are proud to have received the Silver Athena SWAN award celebrating the School of Nursing and Paramedic Science’s commitment to gender equality.

One of only three Schools of Nursing to be awarded Silver in the UK, and the first school at Ulster University. We are forward thinking in our approach to equality issues addressing them in a transparent and proactive manner.

Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In May 2015 the Athena SWAN Charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. As a result, the Charter now focuses more broadly on gender equality.

The achievement of the award involves a self-assessment process undertaken by both staff and students in the School through a self-assessment team.  Progressing from our Bronze Award achievement in 2015 to achieve Silver in 2019, the School of Nursing and Paramedic Science are working to continuously improve with the implementation of an action plan to collaboratively deliver further on equality from 2018 until 2024.

This action plan addresses the Athena SWAN expanded charter.


Our main goals are :

  • To continue to maximise gender equality in recruitment to undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses with a focus on addressing the under-representation of male students
  • To explore the gap in performance of degree attainment between male and female students and set in place an action plan
  • Enhance progression to postgraduate research opportunities within the profession in partnership with stakeholders as part of enhancing career progression opportunities
  • Address the underrepresentation of males in contract research posts
  • Enhance the experience of new staff through the development of a staff hand book
  • Develop a career pathway for all staff in line with the University’s academic excellence framework
  • Explore reasons that influence staff engagement with promotion processes
  • Through the School Professoriate, enhance the developmental appraisal process through further development of the process structure
  • Review and enhance mentor structures across that range of teaching and research roles and opportunities
  • Explore a different, effective model with staff that captures all elements of workload and refine principles of workload in line with the Athena Forum report.
  • Enhance awareness of and effective use of flexible working policies
  • Develop a model for School outreach activities that facilitates and evaluates gender equity involvement

Core attributes of the School of Nursing and Paramedic Science

The School of Nursing and Paramedic Science has embraced a person-centred approach to education and research, seeking to create a culture of human flourishing, enabling both staff and students to achieve their potential, whilst addressing  gender related issues and contributing to a healthy, and equal society.

We have an ethos of shared governance, values and behaviours based on inclusiveness, integrity, and professionalism.

Our extensive civic engagement profile enables us to directly influence health and social care policy, including issues around gender, women and health.

We also have a range of international partnerships, lead in widening access and participation, and integrate with professional and governing bodies in influencing nurse education and healthcare regionally, nationally and internationally.

Delivering our action plan

The Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT), who developed the action plan for our November 2018 submission, will continue in the form of a School Athena SWAN committee to ensure the action plan is delivered upon, to continue to promote the expanded chartership and to demonstrate accountability in living out the plan set out in this application.

The committee and subsequent working groups for each action will meet six times annually and will integrate fully into the School, reporting and responding to matters through the School Board (three times annually), disseminating across the committee structures of the School and into the wider Faculty.

Working groups will meet at least bi-monthly in rolling out action plans, dependent on the nature of the action point.

It is anticipated that each working group will recruit additional members from within the School that can contribute further to the achievement of the action plan.

The Chair of the committee will, through their role as School Champion, integrate into the Faculty and University Champion structures to maximise a cohesive and synergistic approach across the Institution and the School.

The School of Nursing and Paramedic Science is committed to gender equality and the Athena SWAN expanded charter and the opportunities that it brings to further enhance our work culture together as a team.

School of Nursing and Paramedic Science - Athena Swan Award