SAGE Athena SWAN - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC is a proud Athena SWAN Bronze Award recipient

On the 20 February 2020, USC was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award Accreditation through the prestigious national Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program.

Attaining an award is recognition of our ongoing commitment to improving gender equity and diversity outcomes across the University and ensuring that women from diverse backgrounds, as well as underrepresented groups, are best positioned to reach their full potential.

We are one of 45 institutions across Australia participating in the SAGE program, which was set up with the aim of bringing the scientific research sector together to monitor and improve gender equity within Australian scientific and research organisations.

What are we doing?

The Bronze Award application process required that we thoroughly explore, understand and have a plan in place to address the issues that impact gender equity and diversity in the University.

We are committed to upholding the Athena SWAN principles and to implementing a four-year Action Plan which provides a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and recognises that to live our declared values as a University requires determination and a long-term commitment to effect positive changes.

Athena SWAN principles
  1. Ensure that gender equity, diversity and inclusion work is appropriately resourced, distributed, recognised, and rewarded.
  2. Undertake transparent and rigorous self-assessment processes, analysing institutional structures, systems, and cultures to identify the barriers to attraction, retention and progression for staff and students, and thus to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
  3. Design initiatives based on institutional data, and national and global evidence of best practice.
  4. Monitor, evaluate, and publicly report on progress made, challenges experienced, and impact achieved, to inform continuous improvement.
  5. Actively incorporate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives to address the specific inequities and injustices experienced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff and students.
  6. Consciously consider all genders, recognising that gender is not binary, and that trans and gender diverse people face specific inequities because of their gender identities.
  7. Take an intersectional approach to advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion, recognising that people of any particular identity are not a homogeneous group.
  8. Engage with those most impacted by inequitable practice to proactively redesign and reshape structures, systems and culture.
  9. Increase the safety and wellbeing of staff and students by proactively and transparently preventing and responding to bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and discrimination.
  10. Embed change in institutional governance and accountability structures; actively and visibly champion and promote gender equity, diversity and inclusion in our Institutions, the Athena Swan community, and across the sector; and hold ourselves and other senior leaders accountable for driving sustainable transformational change.
Athena SWAN Implementation Committee

The implementation of the Action Plan is coordinated by the Athena SWAN Implementation Committee (ASIC). Chaired by Professor Tim Wess, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) the ASIC is made up of members who reflect the diversity of USC.

Whilst there is a long-term focus, there are several initiatives we have already put in place to support and advance the careers of women and gender-diverse individuals:

  • Formal mentoring scheme for mid-career academics
  • HDR scholarships for female and gender diverse candidates in underrepresented STEMM disciplines
  • A scholarship funding scheme to assist USC sessional academic staff in completion of a manuscript for publication
  • School based promotion advisory committees which provide a supportive environment for applicants, by providing feedback on draft promotion applications, particularly for women in STEMM
  • University-wide principles for gender equity considerations into the selection of speakers and leaders for University-sponsored events
  • USC Executive applies a model of ‘by exception justification’ for any committee that is not gender balanced. The chair is required to justify this lack of gender balance to Executive
  • USC Brand Guidelines now includes gender pronouns as a standard option for email signature templates and business cards
  • USC Executive and Senior Staff have equity and diversity KPIs embedded into their Performance, Planning and Review (PPR) cycle

For further information, contact Elvessa Marshall, Project Coordinator (SAGE) or telephone +61 7 5459 4716.