Durham University Physics department wins prestigious award for supporting women

By Tohid Ismail

Durham University has joined one of 18 university departments to be commended by the Institute of Physics for its positive approach towards equality and diversity.

The Juno Champion Status, awarded to the department last week, was given in recognition of the work done to tackle the lack of high participation of women in physics, having met various principles given.

The certain factors taken into consideration by the Institute included its selection procedures for academic posts aiding further women to apply and the Department’s flexible approach towards to its staff to ensure that each makes the most efficient contribution.

The Department of Physics has also been given further aims to improve its equality and diversity. Having taken out its own awards recently, including a Florence Nightingale Prize for Graphical Excellence presented this year to two undergraduates, the head of the department, Professor Simon Morris, has reaffirmed its commitment to help meet these new targets set out by Project Juno.

He stated that the department is “committed to offering opportunities to everyone to participate and achieve in physics and will continue to building upon this award.”

Dr. Julie Wardlow has supported this comment on the working ethos of the Department, stating that now there are “more people that are willing to talk about diversity and […] that are open to go to if you have a problem or if you have something you are unsure of. There are people you can trust to talk to here.” 

Former students of the University have expressed positive remarks about the Department in light of the reception of this award. Physics graduate Anuradha Damale stated recently that in “the four years that I have been here there has been a massive change in the level of nurture and understanding that the department has of different learning techniques, different backgrounds, mental health issues and mature students. It has become more and more understanding and versatile in its teaching methods.”

Photograph: Kaustav Bhattacharya via Flickr and Creative Commons

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