Professor Mark Goodwin

Athena SWAN

Introduction by Professor Mark Goodwin

I am pleased to support and champion the work being carried out at the University in relation to the Athena SWAN Charter. The Athena SWAN Charter’s aim is to support and encourage Universities to work towards gender equality within STEM/M disciplines.

I’ve been involved with the work of the Charter since 2012 in my then role as Dean of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. When I became Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2013 I was honoured to be the DVC lead for Equality and Diversity matters through our Dual Assurance governance.

This has given me an insight into the gender imbalance not only in STEM/M subjects but across HE and in other public sectors as well as private companies. This is why we have expanded our gender focus across the whole University with our Women in HE@Exeter themes.

I am keen that we reflect on our own practices as well as engaging with others to learn from them. To this end I am pleased to have been an Athena SWAN assessor for the Equality Challenge Unit and would encourage colleagues to take up such opportunities too.

At Exeter, STEM/M includes all subject disciplines within the Colleges of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences and the University of Exeter Medical School.

The University is committed to the Charter’s six principles:
1.To address gender inequalities requires commitment and action from everyone, at all levels of the organisation
2.To tackle the unequal representation of women in science requires changing cultures and attitudes across the organisation
3.The absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels has broad implications which the organisation will examine
4.The high loss rate of women in science is an urgent concern which the organisation will address
5.The system of short-term contracts has particularly negative consequences for the retention and progression of women in science, which the organisation recognises
6.There are both personal and structural obstacles to women making the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career in science, which require the active consideration of the organisation.

In addition to renewing our University Bronze level Award (November 2014) we have 9 disciplines who hold awards or are in the process of applying for them. We encourage engagement from our own staff and students and from those outside the University. If you have any comments or feedback, please email

For information on the Discipline Working Groups, please see their Athena SWAN webpages:
Engineering – Bronze Department Award holder
Maths and Computer Science – Bronze Department Award holder
Physics - Bronze Department Award holder 
Biosciences (Exeter) – Bronze Department Award holder 
CLES-Cornwall – Silver Department Award holder
Geography - Bronze Department Award holder 
Psychology - Bronze Department Award holder (waiting to hear outcome of their Department level Silver Award application - submitted November 2015)
Sport and Health Science - Silver Department Award holder
University of Exeter Medical School - Silver Department Award holder

Our Department of Classics and Ancient History also holds a Bronze Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM) award. To find out more about them and GEM please see

Professor Mark Goodwin BSc PhD 
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs)

Athena SWAN website

For more information, please see the Athena SWAN website [opens new window]