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Department EDI Structure and Welfare Committee

Message from Head of Department 

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. I take pride in the fact that our Department is so greatly enriched by its diverse and international community. We strive to create an environment in which everyone feels able to participate to their full potential and are valued for their contributions. All avenues of work in this Department are stronger when they derive from a community grounded in respect and diversity. I believe that creating this positive and inclusive work environment is a responsibility shared by all the members of our Department, and we all have a role in breaking down the inequalities that are present because of differences in race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religious belief, disabilities, caring responsibilities and all protected characteristics.

I recognise that we must not be complacent and there is still considerable progress to be made. The challenge of attracting more Black students and staff into pursuing physics and astrophysics in this department is an enormous and complex example, but not without solutions. Many Black students at school perceive other university degree subjects are more supportive and rewarding, resulting in a loss of talent to physics and astrophysics. The challenge and opportunity for us to discuss, debate and act on is how we can take advantage of the early school interests shown by Black students for physics and nurture this interest, engage in their burgeoning science aspirations, and support their learning. The relatively few Black undergraduate and postgraduate students that do elect to study in our Department must, as indeed should all students, experience lecturers, mentors, tutors, staff and peer interactions that give them a strong sense of belonging. We cannot, and must not, accept any factors that negatively impact on students’ sense of belonging in our department, and we must guard against unconscious bias, microaggressions and stereotype threat. 

Through the Department’s student societies, PDRA network, listening groups, EDI groups and – above all – its individual members, we should aim to continually communicate values of respect and inclusion through our actions, physical environment, degree education content, and work to eradicate acts motivated by bias and racism. I call on you all to be active bystanders, to look out for one another and be assured that you will be supported by the department if you report any racist behaviours you may be witness to.

Department EDI Structure

The departments EDI structure is divided into two parts, a Steering Group and an Advisory Group. Both meet regularly, with the aim of promoting equality and creating a supportive working environment for all staff in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. We promote good practice across the department and strive to ensure a positive work/life balance for all staff and students.

UCL's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy aims to foster a positive cultural climate where all staff and students can flourish, where no-one will feel compelled to conceal or play down elements of their identity for fear of stigma. UCL will be a place where people can be authentic and their unique perspective, experiences and skills seen as a valuable asset to the institution. 

EDI Steering Group

The EDI Steering Group is a small, agile group which shares representational duties and works on fixed priorities. 

MemberRole
Benjamin JoachimiLeading submission of award applications, including Athena Swan and the Institute of Physics Inclusion Award
Lucy KeepkingDepartmental representation at Faculty and University level, and operationalising plans
Raman PrinjaOverseeing departmental EDI strategy and delivery

 

EDI Advisory Group
The EDI Advisory Group meets three times a year, and acts as a sounding board and discussion forum, advising the Steering Group. If you are interested in joining the Advisory Group, please contact Lucy.Keepking@ucl.ac.uk.
 
MemberGroupPosition
Lucy KeepkingProfessional ServicesCo-Chair
Raman PrinjaHead of DepartmentCo-Chair
Benjamin JoachimiAstrophysicsASTRO representative
Anasuya AruliahAstrophysicsMSc Admissions Tutor
Jasvir BhamrahTeachingTeaching representative
Noor-Ines BoudjemaHEPPhD Student representative
Lori Coletti Campbell   Professional ServicesDepartmental Manager 
Mark CunninghamAstrophysicsPhD student representative
Elizabeth De-Ben RocksonProfessional ServicesCDT-DIS Centre Manager
Agapi Emmanilidou AMOPPAMOPP representative
Carla Figueira De Morrison FariaAMOPPAMOPP representative
Mark FullerProfessional ServicesOutreach Co-ordinator
Ellen HangAstrophysicsPDRA representative
Gavin HeskethHEPHEP representative
Roger JohnsonCMMPCMMP representative
Phil Jones AMOPPUndergraduate Admissions Tutor
Veera MikolaHEPPhD student representative
Thanh NguyenBiophysicsBioP representative
Ryan NicholHEPHEP representative 
Fern PannellHEPPhD student representative
Sital PatelProfessional ServicesEducation Support Team 
Kate PattleAstrophysicsAstrophysics representative 
Markus RademacherAMOPPPDRA representative
Raphaele RauppCosmoparticle InitiativeCPI representative
Ferruccio RenzoniAMOPPDeputy Head of Department
Karen Stoneham Professional ServicesThomas Young Centre (TYC) and Materials and Molecular Modelling (MMM) Hub Coordinator
Marzena SzymanskaAMOPPPhD Admissions Tutor
Stefano Vergani HEP PDRA representative
Our Departments Race Equality Pledge 
  • Raise awareness of, and challenge, the predominantly white and male role mole representation in the P&A curriculum. Every module taught by P&A staff to develop portraits of eminent scientists from underrepresented groups in their fields as role models. Portrait information will be collected by the Department to ensure diversity and comprehensiveness.
  • Implement a PhD buddy system across the Department. Assign new PhDs to an existing senior student. The buddies will be provided with access to EDI resources and encouraged to undergo training, e.g. with regards to unconscious bias. Evaluate impact of scheme with annual or bi-annual surveys.
  • Keep track of speaker backgrounds more comprehensively across the Department.
  • Increase the share of speakers from BAME backgrounds at seminars and outreach talks, also exploring the potential to reach out to global universities outside the traditional physics institutions via online sessions.
  • Encourage at least one member of staff in the Department to be trained as a Fair Recruitment Specialist and trial the scheme in at least one recruitment within the Department, with subsequent evaluation.

Welfare Committee 

The welfare committee was set up as a result of the staff survey in 2017.  Its aim is to facilitate the conversation in the department around issues of wellbeing and welfare for our staff and students.  

The committee is made up of academic, research, technical staff and professional services staff and students all year groups and including postgraduate taught and postgraduate research programmes. 

The committee aims to meet three times a year, once during each term.

The departmental Welfare Committee official launch was on 24 January 2020 in the Haldane Room.  The event was a great success. The therapy dogs took centre stage.

No event took place during the Covid years but in July 2023 we organised a Department Wellbeing day, which was well attended by PS staff and some academic colleagues including our Head of Department.  The morning workshop was focused on the importance of laughter in particular in the workplace and was expertly delivered by Sarah McGrath and Sital Patel.  After the tea/coffee break, we had great fun playing a number of interesting games, which led to a great deal of hilarity.   The afternoon session delivered by Selina Lovell was a fascinating insight into new protein sources.  This resulted in a number of brave individuals sampling a range of exotic treats such as biscuits made with cricket flour and dried locust snacks. A great day all round. 

MemberGroupPosition
Lori Coletti Campbell   Professional ServicesChair of EDI Committee - Departmental Manager
Mark FullerProfessional ServicesOutreach Co-ordinator
Selina LovellProfessional ServicesTeaching & Learning Manager
Nick NicoloauTeachingAssociate Professor (Teaching)
Raman PrinjaAstrophysicsProfessor of Astrophysics - Head of Department
Ruben SaakyanHEPProfessor of Physics
Kelvin VineLabsExperimental Development Officer