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Mathematics Workplace excellence, Inclusion, Diversity, Equality & Respect (WIDER) Committee

WIDER committee

Jennifer L. Catto

Jennifer Catto

I am an Associate Professor in the Climate Dynamics group of the Mathematics and Statistics department, which I joined in 2017. My research is focused on high impact weather and climate in present and future climates in order to provide more robust information for adaptation and to improve climate resilience. My background is in physics and meteorology, and I came through my undergraduate degree believing that the lack of diversity was just the way it was. During my PhD I began to see more successful women and became committed to improving gender balance in my own discipline. In 2020 I took on the role of chair of the WIDER committee. My goal is to contribute to a culture of inclusion and celebrating diversity so that everyone can achieve their own ambitions. To achieve this, I am pleased that we have a diverse membership of the WIDER committee.

Layal Hakim

Layal Hakim

I am an E&S senior lecturer and passionate about course design and delivery. I’m particularly interested in education that makes learning fun and personalised by addressing the students’ individual needs and while taking into account their educational background and pedagogies used prior to university level. I have participated in the Women in Mathematics Day in 2014 and 2015 where my research on Computational Methods in Fracture Mechanics was presented, and was an invited speaker at the conference Women Count in 2017 hosted by Queen Mary University of London. I am also involved in leading the Autism Champions meetings, formed as part of the Education Incubator project The Exeter Spectrum Project, where academic and professional services staff across all colleges discuss approaches of providing effective support to autistic students and staff in higher education. Having two young sons, I’m aware of the challenges involved while working in academia and being a parent at the same time. Growing up in London and being part of a multicultural community has demonstrated the importance of EDI in the workplace and elsewhere, that all should feel comfortable, respected, and treated equally regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and disability status.

John T Bruun 

John T Bruun

I’m a Physicist (Theoretical Physics, Lancaster degree: First including History minor, PhD 1994 and CPhys), Lecturer in Mathematics at Exeter and science communicator. How we identify and work together in our STEM work is I believe really important for our departmental and university community. A wider collection of ideas that is part of our more inclusive focus helps enable career paths and opportunity. I'm the Diversity Champion for CEMPS, with a specific focus on enabling "Our voices in CEMPS". I'm also a professional member of the UK and Irelands Institute of Physics (IOP) as Chair for the Physics Communicators Group and co-opted to the Women in Physics Group. I am interested in data analytics and how we can better identify and explain physical phenomena (chaotic and regular) in the climate system, especially its impact to the biosphere.

Geoffrey Vallis

Geoff Vallis

John Screen 

James Screen

I am a Professor of Climate Science in the Climate Dynamic group. My research focuses on the climate of the polar regions and how climate change at the poles is influencing weather and climate all around the world.

I have been at Exeter since 2013. Over that time I have worked on the research-only and research and education streams, starting as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and progressing to full Professor. For many years I worked compressed hours to manage childcare responsibilities. I am keen to use my personal experience to support staff with parental (or other caring) responsibilities. In addition, and drawing on the experiences of people close to me, I want to encourage more awareness of and efforts to reduce the challenges faced by the neurodiverse community. I’m also an advocate for maintaining a good work-life balance, and want to promote a healthy workplace culture at the university.

Anna Harper 

Anna Harper

I study the terrestrial carbon cycle and its interactions with climate, and how we can better use the land to help mitigate climate change. I'm interested in EDI because I know that to successfully mitigate climate change, we need solutions and ideas from a diverse range of backgrounds. I also believe working in an inclusive environment supports individuals to achieve their best and - ideally - makes for a more enjoyable work experience for everyone.

David Stephenson 

David Stephenson

I joined the University of Exeter in 2007 and established the Exeter Climate Systems research centre. My research interest is in developing and applying innovative statistical methods to gain deeper insight and understanding of weather and climate processes.

I have had the pleasure of living and working at research organisations and Universities in several different countries (USA, France) and so have first-hand experience of what it is like to be a foreigner. I would like to use this experience to make the mathematics and statistics department a more welcoming and supporting department for people from diverse cultural backgrounds. I am also the divorced father of two young children so have experience of the difficulties of balancing parental duties with academic responsibilities, and would like to use this to make the workplace a truly family-friendly environment.

Steph Selway 

Steph Selway

My professional background includes working in University Corporate Services in our Planning function which has given me a good knowledge of HE policy development and how data is collected and reported within the institution and across the sector. I’m interested in furthering EDI aims having seen from this perspective the scale of some of the challenges we face. Personally, I’m from a WP background and get pretty passionate about the transformative effect access to Higher Education can have on individuals’ lives so am keen to open these up to as many people as possible!

Mark Baldwin Mark Baldwin

Terms of Reference

Mathematics Workplace excellence, Inclusion, Diversity, Equality & Respect (WIDER) Committee

August 2020

The Maths & Computer Science WIDER Committee was established in November 2016, as the Athena SWAN Working Group. Its title and terms of reference were updated in November 2016, in response to the Athena SWAN Charter’s updated and expanded principles, and in order to include working environment concepts not included in the Athena SWAN Charter. In May 2020, Maths and Computer Science agreed to have separate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committees.

The mission of the Mathematics WIDER committee is to ensure the Mathematics department is a world-class working environment that is an open, diverse and safe community. The Committee aims to help each individual achieve excellence by advancing and supporting equity, respecting and valuing diversity, and promoting equal opportunity.

The Committee actively seeks to identify aspects of the working environment that could be improved; to propose and implement new approaches, initiatives and policies inspired by best practice at local (EDI team, the Provost Commission) and national level; and continually strive to achieve the Universities’ EDI Vision 2019-2025 “Everyone Welcome, Many Voices, One Community”.

The committee recognises that whilst good policies benefit all, bad policies disproportionately affect minority groups in STEMM, including (but not limited to) women, BAME and LGBTQ+. The Committee acknowledges the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on deepening pre-existing inequality. It acts to minimise the effect on women, minority groups and those with intersectional characteristics of sexual orientation, age and economic class.

To achieve the mission as stated above the WIDER committee will

  1. Actively seek feedback from staff and students, listen and engage with staff on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) related issues.
  2. Assess and analyse the basis of and best route for EDI related actions to be created and embedded within the Department. This includes undertaking further qualitative and quantitative analysis, reflective learning and consulting with staff and students in the Department on issues identified.
  3. Respond to the identified barriers to EDI within the department, in particular those related to the 2010 Equality Act’s protected characteristics1, by creating and undertaking actions to support and empower staff and students in their working environment.
  4. Measure the impact of the committee’s actions in part through overseeing the planning and submission process for future equality focused Departmental accreditations e.g. Athena SWAN, and supporting University level equality accreditations where possible i.e. Stonewall, Two Ticks, Mindful Employer and Time to Change.
  5. Implement, monitor and update the Departmental Athena SWAN Action Plan, assigning actions to individual leads on the team. On leaving the committee, members are responsible for officially handing over their actions to alternative members of the group.
  6. Learn from and implement best practice, by working closely with the institutional EDI team and Provost Commission. Subscribe to the London Mathematical Society Good Practice Scheme. Seek best practice in EDI policies from other Universities and Departments.
  7. Disseminate information about EDI throughout the Department and liaise with other STEM/M Departments and the wider University on the actions the Department is taking.
  8. Champion the Wellbeing resources and relevant training opportunities available to staff and students e.g. women-only leadership training programmes such as Sprint, Aurora and Springboard.
  9. Promote relevant formal networks and schemes within the University such as the Dignity and Respect Advisors, Early Career Researcher Networks, mentoring opportunities and Parent and Carer Network.

WIDER membership will be drawn from the existing student and staff population at Streatham and Penryn. Membership will be reviewed annually in September to ensure representation from all groups and consideration should be given to representing each location.

Regular members include:

  • Head of Department
  • Professional Services Representative
  • Members of staff from each of the three academic job families; Education and Research, Education and Scholarship and Research (ideally spanning grades and career stages).
  • Part time member of staff
  • Diversity champion
  • Undergraduate student
  • Postgraduate Research student

Guest members will be included in town hall style meetings to beheld once per term. Guests include representatives from (and not limited to):

  • EDI central groups
  • Provost Commission
  • Professional services
  • Students guild
  • positive working environment group
  • Parents and carers network rep
  • Other departments/colleges
  • Other Universities
  • Other organisations, e.g. Black British STEM (BBSTEM)

It is the responsibility of current members to attend monthly meetings; undertake any specific actions; disseminate information from the group; consult with colleagues/peer group in their relative area.

The group will aim to meet monthly in person or virtually (Teams/Zoom). Minutes of the meeting will be taken distributed by the HoD as appropriate.