Equity and diversity
The School of Physics is strongly committed to providing support and resources to create an equitable environment for all members of the department, including students at all levels and visitors.
Led by the Equity and Diversity committee, the school strives to provide an inclusive and diverse working and learning environment where everyone feels valued, respected and comfortable being themselves. In addition to the University and Faculty-wide Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, the School of Physics engages in a range of activities and measures to continually improve the organisational culture for our staff and students.
- Improving the understanding of unconscious bias and its impact through training for all staff and students
- Understanding the department’s need in Diversity and Equity to explore further policies, programs and resources that may be required on a biannual basis through organisational climate surveys
- Develop diversity policies and codes of conduct to ensure appropriate behaviour of all members and equity of opportunity regardless of gender, ethnicity or origin, culture, language, relationship status, pregnancy, sexuality, medical conditions or disability, age and political or religious belief
- Participation in the Athena SWAN and SAGE Award and the Astronomical Society of Australia's Pleiades Awards.
Priorities and initiatives
The school’s priorities and ongoing initiatives are listed below.
The School of Physics is strongly committed to increasing the participation of women and non-binary people in physics in all areas of our program through the following initiatives:
- Equitable recruitment of new staff through female-only hires and equitable hiring policy and processes
- Supporting early career researcher through promotion
- The Women in Physics group and the annual WiSDM retreat*
- Travel scholarships for research students*
- The Girls in Physics Day for secondary school aged students*.
*Currently supported by the Laby Foundation.
The School of Physics acknowledges the Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land our school now stands on. We pay our respects to the elders, past, present and future as we work and learn upon this land.
We are committed to increasing the indigenous representation of staff and students within the school as well as ensuring the indigenous culture and science is incorporated into our curriculum.
- We teach into the Bachelor of Science (Extended) program
- We have supported indigenous staff recruitment through MIPEP
- We have on staff an indigenous culture and astronomy expert to incorporate indigenous knowledge and science into our curriculum.
Careers and parental leave
The School of Physics is very supportive of our young families and recognises the challenges this may have on both staff and students.
- We provide financial support for female academics while on maternity leave and in early childhood years to support continuation of research while on leave and return to work*
- We enable people with families to work flexible ours and ensure core meetings are only held between 10-4
- We have a quiet private room that can be used for parenting purposes.
The School of Physics welcomes people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and more. We provide allyship and commit to providing an inclusive culture to support LGBTIA+ staff and students.
Disability and mental health
The Equity and Diversity and Occupational Health and Safety committees work together to improve accessibility, safety and the mental health of our staff and students through:
- Auditing our spaces to ensure accessibility for all
- Awareness of people working with disabilities and mental health through seminars and training
- Member of the Faculty of Science Mental Health and Well-being Advisory Group
- A quiet private room for prayer and meditation.
To report issues of discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying:
- Students and visitors can access the Safer Community Program
- Staff should first, if possible, discuss issues with their line manager and/or local HR representative. They can also access the Employee Assistance Program, make an online report to the Inappropriate Workplace Behaviour Line, or call 1800 685 463 during business hours.
- Outside of the University, 24/7 support is provided by LifeLine and Beyond Blue.
These resources can help you learn about more practical ways to engage:
- The School of Physics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Journal Club
- The Institute of Physics' diversity initiatives and advice for teachers on addressing gender imbalance in the class room
- The language decoder for Job ads
- The Women in Astronomy blog by the American Astronomical Society Committee on the Status of Women
- 'Gender Matters' by Jennifer Blue, Adrienne L. Traxler and Ximena C. Cid discusses gender equality and how to improve the status of women.
Further information for Staff on the activities of this committee can be found on the School of Physics Intranet page. We would like to acknowledge the generosity and support for many of these programs from the Laby Foundation, alumni Dr Hugo Stephenson and Student Services and Amenities Fee grants.