The Athena Swan Governance Committee provides assurance, expert advice and guidance to the Advance HE Board on matters relating to the transformation and ongoing enhancement of the Athena Swan charter in the UK.
Find out more about the Athena Swan Governance Committee members below:
Professor Parveen Yaqoob
Chair of the Athena Swan Governance Committee
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading
Parveen Yaqoob is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading. She is a Professor of Nutritional Physiology, manages an active research team and serves on a number of research funding panels.
Professor Uduak Archibong, MBE
Professor of Diversity, University of Bradford, UK
Uduak is Professor of Diversity at the University of Bradford, UK, where she directs the Centre for Inclusion and Diversity and provides strategic oversight for equality, diversity and inclusion across the institution. She has been recognised by the British Government and the Queen for her services to Higher Education and Equality. She was awarded MBE [Member of the Order of the British Empire] in the 2015 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Uduak’s nursing career began in Nigeria in the 80’s and she graduated from the University of Nigeria in 1990 with first class honours and obtained her PhD from the University of Hull in 1995. She is a Fellow of the West African College of Nursing and a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.
She has been recognised as a foremost authority on inclusion and diversity and currently leads in setting agendas to drive research, learning and knowledge exchange activities internationally. Informed by over 30 years’ experience of working in the higher education sector, her academic and professional work has major impacts locally, nationally and globally. Key among these impacts is that the body of her research work has provided a robust understanding of the challenges of applying diversity interventions in enhancing workforce diversity and inclusive service delivery. She has published extensively on inclusion and diversity.
Uduak has recently led to completion a major multi-million European Commission funded action research gender equality project, GENOVATE [Transforming organisational culture for gender equality in research in Higher Education], across 7 European Universities. She is currently leading gender and inclusion elements of a multi-million Horizon 2020 project, RRING, along with 22 international partners in Europe, China, Africa, India, Japan, North and South America. She was also involved in leading a national research study ‘Cracking the Concrete Ceiling’ which explored the impact of the Advance HE ‘Diversifying Leadership’ programme on UK Black and Minority Ethnic Academic staff.
A multi-award winner, Uduak was honoured in June 2014 as one of the top 100 Nigerians in the UK to receive a Centenary Award, one of the top 50 Inspirational Women in Healthcare in the UK, and a Distinguished Nurse Leader in 21st century in Nigeria. She featured in Northern Power Women Power List, 2019 and Phenomenal Women – Portraits of UK Black Women Professors in 2020. She was listed in the Black WHO'S WHO in the Millennium in recognition of her outstanding achievements.
Uduak is an Ecumenical Canon of the Bradford Cathedral and has been conferred four high chief titles in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
Learning Development and Business Administration Manager and Departmental lead for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Robin's work has had an equalities focus in different setting for many years, from working in Holocaust Education in Germany, to working in the UK museum and heritage sector and now in higher education, where he is the equality, diversity and inclusion lead for the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies, and a member of the University’s Gender Equality Action Group and Diversity Champions Network.
He is particularly interested in how museums and similar organisations can effect positive social change through better outreach, intervention and co-production with typically under-represented communities and how we can work towards greater liberation, diversity and equality in our curricula and our institutions in the academy.
Having worked on several Athena Swan applications, he is now keen to support the development of the scheme to become an effective tool in supporting progress towards greater equality in the sector and beyond.
Dr Katie Farrell
Gender Equality Officer, University of Glasgow and Chair of the Scotland Athena Swan Network
Katie coordinates and supports the implementation of the Athena Swan Charter to advance gender equity at the University of Glasgow. She is acutely aware of the opportunities and challenges Athena Swan presents for driving meaningful change across an organisation. She hopes to use these insights as a member of the Governance Committee to ensure the next iteration of the Charter is responsive to sector needs and fit-for-purpose, whilst also retaining the credibility, integrity, and rigour of the Charter process and awards.
This next evolution of the Athena Swan Charter takes place at a time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty for the sector. It is therefore crucial that we engage with the transformation in a collaborative, transparent, and consultative manner; the Governance Committee is key to achieving that.
Alongside her role at the University of Glasgow, Katie chairs the Athena Swan Scotland Network. She is committed to ensuring the views and interests of member organisations across the HE and research sector in Scotland are represented throughout this vital transformation project.
Dr Mary Hannon-Fletcher
Senior Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University
As a female academic in a STEM subject, Mary was delighted when Ulster University joined the Athena Swan Charter in 2013. Since then, as Ulster University's Athena Swan Champion, she has been a the main driver of the institution's Athena Swan activity. Under her guidance, the University achieved two successful bronze awards (2014 and 2017) and at school level, they have two silver and eight bronze awards. Over the years she has been actively engaged in the Charter both at Ulster and with other universities across the UK and Ireland and as Chair of the University Self-Assessment Team (SAT). She also leads, along with the Athena Swan Office, the implementation of the institution’s action plan.
The principles of Athena Swan are close to Mary's heart and she feels very strongly that they are very important to ensure fairness across HE. Given the Charter is under review this, for her, is an excellent time to become more strategically involved in developing the future of the Charter and strengthening the already substantial progress that has been made over the years.
Professor Fiona Karet
Director of Organisational Affairs, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge
As a clinically active academic nephrologist, Fiona combines a small research lab with running a sub-specialty renal clinical service caring for patients with inherited kidney disorders. She teaches/trains medical students plus post-graduate specialty trainees locally and nationally. She has led Cambridge's School of Clinical Medicine's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work for 9 years, including two successful School-wide Silver Swan applications. She also brings experience of university, college and charity governance through other current and past roles.
This is an exciting but challenging time for the Athena Swan Charter, particularly now – to realise at an enforced distance developments emanating from the recent external review. She believes there are opportunities to streamline practices, increase fairness, and allow member organisations to celebrate their work in improving equality, diversity and inclusion.
The work done by so many has improved the landscape, but for anyone with a Swan initiative, standing still equals going backwards and individual careers should not be harmed in the process of working towards better working lives for all our staff and students.
Fiona's medical background provides a good foundation for Governance Committee membership, since both involve listening to symptoms, information gathering and investigations, arriving at a diagnosis and instituting a management plan.
Professor Sara Mole
Provost’s Envoy for Gender Equality, University College London
Sara is a Professor at University College London (UCL) and Head of Section for Inborn Errors of Metabolism, UCL GOS Institute for Child Health, with a research interest in Batten disease. She is also UCL Provost’s Envoy for Gender Equality. She has used the Athena Swan Charter to further gender equality in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, being awarded the first Silver (2009) and first Gold (2016) awards at UCL. Now working with UCL’s Athena Swan Manager she supports departments and colleagues in their gender equality work and Athena Swan applications. UCL currently has an institutional silver award and 39 academic departments holding Athena Swan awards, including two Golds. As Envoy, Sara chairs the Gender Working Group with two co-chairs to model diversity.
Sara works with and challenges senior management and the whole institution to advance and deliver UCL’s gender equality priorities, connecting with other Equality Working Groups and Networks. She shares her expertise with UK Universities, UCL’s international partners and beyond. In her role on the Athena Swan Governance Committee she wants to improve the effective operation and strategic development of the Charter, so that it continues to further gender equality in the UK HE sector, and internationally.
Dr Pavel Ovseiko
Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Pavel is leading a multi-disciplinary programme of research and policy advocacy on gender equity and diversity across medical and social sciences. This includes building an evidence base to accelerate women's advancement and leadership through systematic reviews; developing markers of achievement, metrics, and indicators for assessing and monitoring progress towards gender equity; conducting multi-centre cross-country comparisons of the gender leadership gap in academic health centres; exploring ways of creating a more supportive and inclusive university culture, and evaluating impact of Athena Swan gender equality action plans.
He and his colleagues have demonstrated that Athena Swan is the single most comprehensive and systemic gender equality scheme in Europe. It is also fast becoming an influential global movement. Therefore, being a member of the Athena Swan Governance Committee provides a unique opportunity to further strengthen the design, implementation, and strategic development of the Athena Swan Charter. His personal ambition is to co-create “a science of Athena Swan” in collaboration with researchers and practitioners from the institutions and countries participating in the Athena Swan Charter.
Professor Sarah Sharples
Pro Vice-Chancellor Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People, Professor of Human Factors, University of Nottingham
As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and People, Sarah takes strategic leadership over all of the work to advance EDI at the University of Nottingham. She has worked as an academic in the Faculty of Engineering since 1998, and is very proud that her colleagues led the work that resulted in the Faculty being the first engineering faculty to be awarded Athena Swan Gold in 2020. She is also a member of EPSRC Council, where she chairs the EDI Strategic Advisory Group. Having first led the writing of an Athena Swan application in 2008, she appreciates how a focus on data, feedback from staff and students, clear setting of actions and capture of impact can help to make real advances in gender equality and EDI. She is strongly supportive of the recommendations from the recent Athena Swan review, and looks forward to working with Advance HE and sector colleagues to deliver action which will ensure that Athena Swan acts as an active stimulus for accelerated change to address barriers to career progression, to recognise intersectionality, and to ensure that the Athena Swan Charter meets the needs of the sector as a tool to enhance implementation of EDI strategies in academic and research settings.
Dr Carole Thomas
Head of Directorate, John Innes Centre
For the past 12 years Carole has been Head of Directorate at the John Innes Centre (JIC) – a role that involves daily interaction with senior management to provide advice and to ensure smooth running of JIC. Over the past eight years she has reinvigorated Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) activity at JIC and Chairs JIC’s Inclusivity and Diversity Committee, a committee that oversees Athena Swan and Technician Commitment activities in addition to EDI more broadly. She is also a member of the UKRI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Board.
Carole is passionate about inclusion and diversity and believe that a holistic, inclusive and supportive research culture is critical for an organisation’s success. Her experience of leading JIC’s Athena Swan Silver and Gold awards and my understanding of Research Institutes will help to inform the Athena Swan Charter transformation process and ensure the differences between HEIs and research institutes are considered.
She is looking forward to being part of the Athena Swan Governance Committee and being able to bring a research institute perspective to the evolution of an Athena Swan Charter that is fit for the future.
Professor Ed Wilding
Head of School of Psychology, University of Birmingham
Ed has held leadership positions in three UK universities and in all of these roles has sought to embed, and bring to the fore, considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion. He has worked closely with the Athena Swan Charter and awards process for over 10 years. He served as part of school and university self-assessment teams, and as a panel member and chair on application assessment panels, initially for the Equality Challenge Unit, and more recently for Advance HE. The experience and knowledge gained has been invaluable for him in his personal and professional life. He is very grateful to now have the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of the charter to ensure it continues to be an effective driver for positive and lasting change.