School of Psychology – Athena SWAN

The School of Psychology has achieved the Athena SWAN bronze award.

The School of Psychology was delighted to receive the Athena SWAN Bronze Department Award in May 2017, as we are committed to ensuring an equal workplace for all.

The award acknowledges that within our department, we are working to promote gender equality for all and will address any issues within this area to ensure a transparent working environment.

Both staff and students within the School completed a self-assessment process, reviewing and reflecting on current work practices, with a three-year action plan now in place for 2017-2020.

Our main goals as part of this plan include:

  • Addressing the gender imbalance in recruitment to undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses
  • Ensuring equitable workloads for all staff
  • Improving communication throughout the School of Psychology

Delivering our action plan

Addressing gender imbalance in recruitment

With more undergraduate female students than male currently registered at Ulster University’s School of Psychology, we aim to redress this balance and encourage more male applicants.

Our plan is to:

  • Host annual ‘Psychology for Men’ undergraduate recruitment events, targeting all-boys secondary schools
  • Encourage male psychology applicants at annual ‘Postgraduate Courses’ recruitment events
  • Gather feedback from attendees via questionnaires about our events and taught courses
  • Develop and deliver a new online marketing strategy for our courses, aimed at both males and females and incorporating fresh imagery and video footage

Fair workloads for staff

In 2015, our new Head of School published an updated draft workload model for staff, which will help us as we move forward with ensuring fair and transparent workloads for all.

The School of Psychology will subsequently develop and publish a live workload model, using existing exemplar models within Ulster University as guidance. Our School of Psychology workload model will specify the nature and duration of key administrative roles within the School and will be monitored by our School Executive Team (SET) for gender equity.

The SET comprises two male and two female senior members of staff, including our Head of School, Research Institute Director, Learning and Teaching Coordinator and a Senior Lecturer.

Improving communication

Ulster University’s School of Psychology plans to improve communication within the School by creating a more open and transparent environment in which all staff feel actively involved.

Our strategy will look at:

  • Actively celebrating the success of staff and students through department-wide emails
  • Regularly updating the news section of our website
  • Engaging with staff and students through our Twitter account and using this regularly as a promotional tool online
  • Investing in computer screens for communal spaces which will display revolving content

Core attributes of the School of Psychology

The School of Psychology Board has embraced a much more collaborative way of working in recent years, which we continue to build upon. As a result, our academic, research, technical and support staff can more easily respond to or discuss any issues that are of importance to the School.

We also have a tradition of our academic staff being former students of the School, which is a great endorsement and may inspire current students to return here to work.

The School of Psychology further offers a flexible approach to working hours, which is particularly beneficial for staff with caring duties.

Areas of focus

The School of Psychology’s Athena Swan Bronze award Action Plan (2017-2020) aims to:

  • Increase the proportion of male applicants for undergraduate courses from 12% to 25%
  • Increase the proportion of male applicants for postgraduate courses from 25% to 35%
  • Reduce the proportion of staff who feel their workload is not equitable from 23% to 10%
  • Improve communication within the School of Psychology
  • Develop a new staff induction handbook and a ‘buddy’ mentoring system
  • Improve support for female staff members going on and returning from maternity leave, particularly in relation to teaching relief to support research-related activities.

To find out more about the Award please visit our Athena SWAN pages.


If you have any questions about the Athena SWAN award please use the contact details below.