What do panellists do?
Every Athena Swan and REC application is reviewed by a panel. Panellists read the applications, assess them against criteria and then meet to discuss their assessments and agree whether to recommend that an award is conferred and at what level.
Who can be a panellist?
Awards panels will usually be made up of five people, and review up to five applications per sitting.
To qualify as a panellist you need to work or have recently worked in the higher education (HE) sector. Depending on the role, consultants that work in HE sector may not qualify to become a panellist.
In constructing the panel Advance HE seek to achieve appropriate representation, considering the gender and ethnicity of panellists for Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter respectively, and ensuring we have representation of experienced and new panellists. Advance HE draws panellists from the following groups of people:
- academics and technical services staff
- human resources or equality and diversity practitioners with experience of higher education
- other professional services staff with experience of higher education
- specialists (for example industry and research institute representatives, members or employees of learned and professional societies, gender equality and race equality specialists as appropriate)
Why become a panellist?
Participating in an Equality Charter mark panel gives you an invaluable insight into the assessment process. You will come away with a more detailed understanding of how panels work and insight into how other institutions analyse their data and make progress on their action plan. Reading through multiple applications will also provide you with good practice ideas which could be implemented in your institution.
Becoming a panel member also gives you an opportunity to share your equality and diversity knowledge and/or subject expertise with peers from other institutions. It is an opportunity to build your professional networks and knowledge of equality and diversity.
What does being a panellist involve?
You will need to do complete online panellist training before being able to be assigned to a panel. This will take around one hour for Athena Swan and slightly longer for REC. Information on how to complete the training will be sent to you as part of the recruitment process.
If you are assigned to a panel, you will be required to read in detail up to five (usually four) Equality Charter mark submissions in advance of an assessment panel day. As a guideline, each submission may take three to four hours to read and assess in advance of the panel.
You will be required to join an online assessment panel, which are currently scheduled to last 2.5 hours and take place via Zoom.
During the meeting, the panel considers each application in turn, led by a chair drawn from the panel. There is also a moderator from Advance HE, who does not have a vote.
How to become a panellist?
If you have registered your interest we will let you know when we are recruiting for new panellists. You will then need to complete the request to receive a panellist application pack. It will contain all of the necessary information and guidance to complete an application.
If you have registered your interest, we will let you know when we are recruiting for new panellists. You will send you a panellist application pack, which will contain all the necessary information and guidance to complete an application.
Once your registration has been processed, you will need to complete our panellist training. Currently, the Athena Swan training is a narrated powerpoint that will take around 1 hour to complete. You will receive the link and password to this once your registration is complete. You can do this training at any time prior to being assigned to a panel, but you must complete the webform afterwards to register your completion. If you have not completed the training, you will not be able to be assigned to a panel. You must complete the training once every two years. REC training is currently delivered as an online webinar and will be organised as part of the panel allocation.
In the lead up to panels we email all potential panellists an availability poll, which potential panellists must complete by the deadline specified (usually the same date as the submission deadline). At this time, you must also update your Declaration of Interest should there be any changes (for example you have moved institution) and ensure you have completed the training within the last two years.
Once we have received all the submissions and planned the panel compositions, we will then email all panellists that have been assigned a panel with the date, and panel information. We also email all potential panellists who have not been assigned to this round to let them know.
Please note that we have around 1,500 registered potential panellists and only around 225 spaces per panel round, therefore we cannot guarantee panel allocation to all registered panellists.
What do observers do?
Observers can witness the panel process. This role can be especially helpful for those working towards a Race Equality Charter or Athena Swan application. Observers do not take part in the decision-making process and do not vote, though may be asked for their opinions on submissions after decisions have been made.
What does being an observer involve?
If you are assigned to a panel, you will be sent up to five (usually four) equality charter mark submissions in advance of an assessment panel day which we recommend you read before the panel.
You will be asked to attend the assessment panel, which will take place on Zoom for 2.5 hours.
During the meeting, the panel considers each application in turn, led by a chair drawn from the panel. There is also a moderator from Advance HE, who does not have a vote. Observers do not contribute to the discussion, although the chair may ask you for any comments after all the decisions have been made.
How do I become an observer?
If you have registered your interest we will get in touch when we are recruiting for new observers.
In the lead up to panels we email all potential observers an availability poll, which potential observers must complete by the deadline specified (usually the same date as the submission deadline). At this time, you must also update your Declaration of Interest should there be any changes (for example you have moved institution).
Once we have received all the submissions and planned the panel compositions, we will then email all observers that have been assigned a panel with the date, and panel information. We also email all potential observers who have not been assigned to this round to let them know.