Reflections on ‘Ada Lovelace Day’ – Implications for ‘Inclusivity’ in Learning and Teaching.
It was my pleasure to attend this year’s Ada Lovelace Day event on October 12th at Swansea University, along with my SALT colleague Jacqui Neale. The event featured the keynote speaker Professor Joy Merrell from the College of Human and Health Sciences, also winner of the 2017 Mary Williams Award.
What is Ada Lovelace Day?
It is an annual, international event held to celebrate the achievements of Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is regarded to be the first to recognise the full potential of a ‘computing machine’ and the first computer programmer. was founded by Suw Charman Anderson in 2009 and now aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and maths (STEM) – more recently embracing medicine too (STEMM).
‘From here to equality…’
At the event, Professor Joy Merrell shared her reflections on her professional career from practice to academia as a Public Health nurse, highlighting factors which facilitated and impeded her career progression. In an engaging and inspiring presentation, she took us through her journey towards promoting equality and diversity in the University, and her vision for the future. In recognition of her individual contributions to the University’s culture and community, Professor Merrell has been attributed the honour of the 2017 Mary Williams Award.
What is the ‘Mary Williams Award’?
Mary Williams (1883-1977) became the first woman to be appointed to an established Chair at a UK University when she became professor of French language and literature at Swansea University (previously called University College Swansea) in 1921. Established in 2014, the Mary Williams Award acknowledges particular achievements of individuals in supporting the career development of colleagues and/or students, with a particular focus on removing barriers that prevent development, promoting and/or providing equal opportunities for all and supporting the University’s equality agenda to utilise all of our talent.
Swansea University Celebrates a Silver ‘Athena SWAN’ Award!
Among her many achievements, Prof Joy Merrell is the Chair of the College of Human and Health Science’s Athena SWAN self-assessment team, which recently contributed to the University gaining its Silver Award. Athena SWAN is a charter scheme run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which recognises advancement of gender equality in terms of representation, progression and success for all. Swansea University is the only University or HEI to receive a silver institutional award in the latest round (out 146 members). The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
What are the implications for inclusivity in learning and teaching?
As SALT representatives, we fully support and promote inclusivity in learning and teaching. Gender equality is a key factor in a range of topics addressed in the CPD module on ‘Inclusivity’ created by Mandy Jack, for example ‘Unconscious Bias’ and ‘Inclusive Pedagogy’. The ‘Bitesize’ element of the PG Cert HE is available for all staff. The course is under development and Mandy would therefore welcome your ideas and opinions. There is a blog section where members of staff are encouraged to post valuable, up to date information about ‘Inclusive Practice’ in their particular discipline. Mandy will also be supplementing the online content with workshops.
Take a look at our SALT website to find out more about Mandy’s Inclusivity CPD course.
Find out more about the ‘Inclusivity’ CPD course here.
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