News and Views

UCC Celebrates Six Awards for Equality Work

20 Oct 2021
UCC President John O'Halloran with representatives of the UCC Athena SWAN award winners.

University College Cork today celebrated its recent Athena SWAN award successes, recognising the University’s commitment to promoting good practice and advancing gender equality in higher education.

At a virtual ceremony, Minister Simon Harris congratulated awardees for their work in advancing equality in higher education, and called Athena SWAN “one of the most important initiatives we have in higher education”

Three awards cycles were included in the ceremony, with UCC receiving six awards, including the Institutional Bronze award (awarded in 2019).

To celebrate this success, UCC held its own outdoor ceremony in the University’s President’s Garden, where President John O’Halloran presented Athena SWAN awards to UCC’s School of Biochemistry & Cell Biology (2021 awardee), Dental School & Hospital (2020), School of Law (2021), School of Nursing & Midwifery (2020), and School of Public Health (2019).

President O’Halloran also accepted an award from Professor Áine Hyland for the University’s institutional Athena SWAN accreditation, successfully renewed in 2019.

Congratulating the awardees, President O’Halloran said: "We are proud of the advances we have made in UCC through the Athena SWAN Charter, and exceptionally proud that most of the awards we celebrate today were achieved amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, with colleagues collaborating remotely on their submissions while adapting to radically transformed ways of teaching students and engaging in research."

Interim Registrar and Chair of UCC’s Athena SWAN Steering Group, Prof. Stephen Byrne, said: “These awards are a tribute to the work of the Athena SWAN teams working across UCC, and to the Athena SWAN Champions who led the successful submissions: Dr. Anne Moore (School of Biochemistry & Cell Biology), Dr. Cris da Mata (Dental School & Hospital), Prof. Louise Crowley (School of Law), Dr. Aine O’Donovan (School of Nursing & Midwifery), and Prof. Patricia Kearney (School of Public Health (2019)”

Special guest Prof. Aine Hyland, Emeritus Prof. Of Education and former Vice-President at UCC, who was Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker at the ceremony commended President O’Halloran and her UCC colleagues: “UCC’s institutional Athena SWAN award is an internationally recognized accreditation, and a hallmark of the University’s commitment to improving equality and creating an inclusive University that values and respects diversity. Today’s awards are a testament to the commitment of my UCC colleagues and their leaders to make tangible progress towards these values.”

Dr. Avril Hutch, UCC’s new Director of UCC’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit, said: "We are delighted to celebrate these successful Athena SWAN submissions. We are grateful to the University and School Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Teams, Human Resources, Academic Systems Administration and all of the UCC staff and students who contributed to the process. The EDI unit looks forward to supporting the implementation of UCC Athena SWAN Action Plans – at institutional and School level – to promote positive gender practice through an intersectional approach."

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