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

Accessibility links


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 the 10 Principles of the Athena SWAN charter 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.

10 Principles
  1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.
  2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.
  3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including the particularly high loss rate of women in STEMM.
  4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.
  5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.
  6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.
  7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by transgender people.
  8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.
  10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible
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.