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Athena SWAN and Equality in the College of Engineering and Architecture

The College has maintained an Athena SWAN Bronze award since 2018 in recognition of their commitment to improving gender equality across the six schools. The award is shared by the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy and the five schools of engineering; Biosystems & Food Engineering, Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Mechanical & Materials Engineering.

(opens in a new window)Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) is a charter that aims to improve the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine). This Bronze Award affirms that our college;

  • is aware of gender equality issues in the schools and the college structure
  • has identified the particular challenges we face, and
  • has a plan for the future

Our current equality plan includes dozens of actions that will be implemented in the next few years, with a number of initiatives already underway.

For instance, the review identified student concerns about gender discrimination and other dignity and respect issues. Some were about staff/student interactions, while others reflected student/student interactions. Four actions specifically address these concerns:

Dignity & Respect Training - Students: Introduced as part of Orientation for new undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Inclusive Teaching Pilot Study:  14 module coordinators have volunteered to participate and modify their modules according to inclusive teaching principles and develop strategies to be shared with other academics in engineering and architecture.

Unconscious Bias / Intercultural Sensitivity / Dignity & Respect Training – Staff: This training was delivered in 2020.

Survey & Focus Groups – Students: A short student survey was run in 2020 aimed at identifying a fuller range of problems students are experiencing in order to develop more targeted solutions.

The review also identified that, among other things, the employees had concerns regarding the lack of opportunities for career development as well as workload distribution. Among the actions proposed, the following have been completed to date;

Career training for early-career academics and research staff: Workshops developed by the College Research team are being held each semester for research staff and early career academics on research skills and career development.

Fixed-term Committee Membership and Leadership: Guidelines developed and distributed to all staff on fixed terms for committee membership and tenure of leadership roles. These guidelines are intended to ensure these opportunities are available for employees of any gender, or academic grade. It includes guidance and templates on obtaining expressions of interest from staff when roles become available. You can download the guidelines here.

Other actions which are currently in active development include:

Workload Model: Develop a simple and transparent workload model template, to be implemented at school-level, with mechanism for tracking gender balance and workload distribution to be reported annually to the College Executive for monitoring.

Unconscious Bias, Intercultural Sensitivity and Dignity & Respect Training: A series of mandatory workshops were delivered by external trainers in 2020 and 2021 on a school-by-school basis.

Gender Equality Action Plan and Implementation Team

The College of Engineering and Architecture Gender Equality Implementation Team (GEIT) is responsible for the overall monitoring of the College Gender Equality Action Plan’s progress. The College of Engineering and Architecture Action Plan can be found here. 

The College of Engineering and Architecture Gender Equality Implementation Team (GEIT) is comprised of:


Role/Rep For


Professor Aoife Ahern

Principal of the College of Engineering and Architecture and Committee Chair


Dr Fionnuala Murphy 

College of Engineering and Architecture Vice Principal for EDI,


Associate Professor Eoin O’ Neill

Head of School Architecture Planning & Environmental Policy


Professor Paula Bourke

Head of School Biosystems & Food Engineering


Dr Jessica Whelan

Head of School Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering


Associate Professor Amanda Gibney

Head of School Civil Engineering


Associate Professor Paul Curran 

Head of School Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dr Vincent Hargaden

Head of School Mechanical and Materials Science


SU Representative

Student Representative College 


Katie O’ Neill

College Marketing Manager


Sue Philpott

College Office Manager


Dr Fionnuala Murphy
Vice Principal, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Chair, Athena Swan
(opens in a new window)engineering&architecture.edi@ucd.ie

Contact UCD School of Civil Engineering

University College Dublin, Newstead, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
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