Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is a core part of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton, and is supported by our Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (BIDE) Committee, Athena SWAN Team, Forum for Women Staff, EDI Champions and EDI Liaison Officers. Together, we are driving a wide range of initiatives to improve the experience of all ECS students and staff, and make the school as welcoming and fair as possible. Over the last five years we have greatly increased outreach activities to encourage people from underrepresented groups to study computer science or electronics. We have improved job descriptions, advertising and appointment criteria to ensure vacancies are attractive to all. We ensure that our staff can take maternity/parental leave without fear of harming their longer-term career ambitions.
We introduced a staff mentoring scheme in 2017 and have since started annual promotion workshops, line-manager appraisal training and staff induction workshops. In February 2019, we set up the ECS Forum for Women Staff which meets every month to discuss and address issues affecting women staff. A series of initiatives proposed by the Forum for Women Staff have garnered positive feedback, including women-focused training-activities, an ECS monthly newsletter, wellbeing talks and new facilities to support staff returning from maternity leave. In 2017, we expanded our annual EDI events calendar to better recognise women engineers and scientists, and our celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was a University Vice-Chancellor’s Award Finalist in 2019.
The Campbell Group is a forum for all women staff associated with ECS. Founded in 2019, the Group is named after Mrs Mary Campbell, former School Manager, and Dr Ishbel Grace MacNaughton Campbell, a pioneering chemist who came to Southampton in 1938. The Group generates ideas on how to improve the working environment for all ECS staff, provides advice on ECS processes, strategy and initiatives, supports one another and shares information on emerging opportunities. The Group’s recommendations have included the introduction of a monthly newsletter for internal communications, the development of an improved ECS Induction Programme and the appointment of Wellbeing Champions. Representatives of The Campbell Group are members of the ECS Strategy Committee.
“Having worked in ECS as a member of administrative staff for nearly 20 years, The Campbell Group was the first initiative to bring women together across all job families and roles. The importance of The Campbell Group is evident in the subsequent policy changes and more practical solutions that result from our discussions, ranging from contributions to a document about Inclusive Language and Behaviour to acting as a springboard for establishing a new Quiet Room for ECS parents needing to feed their babies during their working day.”