Members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UL pictured with large sign marking their Athena Swan award
Silver award: Some of the members of the UL Department of Mathematics and Statistics Athena Swan Committee: Niamh Dooley, Mehakpreet Singh, Kevin Burke, Alan Hegarty, Sarah Mitchell, Norma Bargary and James Gleeson
Wednesday, 6 September 2023

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Limerick has been recognised for its work on gender equality by receiving an Athena Swan Silver Award

The Department, which is responsible for teaching all modules in Mathematics and Statistics and is based in UL’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, is the first such department in Ireland to achieve this honour.

University of Limerick was the first institution in Ireland to receive the prestigious Athena Swan Silver Award in April of this year, being recognised as a leader in embedding gender equality.

The Athena Swan Ireland charter is part of a global framework used to support and transform gender equality and to build capacity for evidenced-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in legislation within higher education and research and has the support of the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

All of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology and several colleges participate in Athena Swan Ireland.

In 2015, UL was one of the first institutions in Ireland to achieve an Athena Swan Bronze Institution Award and established the office of Human Rights and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (HREDI) in 2021.

The silver award is granted in recognition of the positive impact of actions that a department or institute has undertaken to achieve gender equality amongst staff and students in Higher Education.

In its submission the Department of Mathematics and Statistics highlighted an increase in female participation in leadership roles across the department and a steady improvement in the gender balance of the student population.

Professor Sarah Mitchell, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Maths and Statistics and the co-chair of its Self-Assessment Team, said: “We are delighted to have received a Silver Athena Swan Department award in August 2023. This is a culmination of a huge amount of work over the past few years, which resulted in our submission back in June. We would like to thank Dr Marie Connolly and her colleagues for their help and support with our application.

“We are especially pleased to be the first Mathematics and Statistics Department to receive a Silver award in Ireland, following on from being the first to receive a Bronze award in 2015,” she added.

Offering congratulations on the award was Professor Kenneth Stanton, the newly appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

“I am proud that the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has become the first department of its kind in Ireland to achieve this prestigious award. It follows from our previous success as an institution after UL became the first University in Ireland to be awarded Athena Swan Silver status last April.

“This latest Department-level award demonstrates our ongoing and meaningful commitment to diversity and inclusion in STEM and I look forward to continued progress in this area from across the faculty,” Professor Stanton added.

A total of 13 awards were conferred on Irish HEIs in the latest assessment round for Athena Swan Ireland.