Keele University academic appointed as Athena Swan UK panel Chair

Dr Katie Szkornik, Dean of Education for the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Keele University, has been appointed as a panel Chair as part of Advance HE’s transformation of the Athena Swan UK Charter.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. Dr Szkornik has been a panellist for the Athena Swan awards scheme for nine years and has acted as a panel Chair since 2015. In this time, she has assessed a significant number of Athena Swan submissions, at all levels and across a diverse range of institutions, research institutes, and departments. Following a recent independent review from Advance HE and the Athena Swan Governance Committee, review systems and processes that underpin the UK Charter have been developed, including revised roles for panel members.

A strong advocate of encouraging and inspiring women to pursue careers in the sciences, Dr Szkornik has led work relating to equality and diversity at a variety of levels, at both departmental and institutional level. She has also acted as a ‘critical friend’ for other departments and institutions applying for Athena Swan awards.

Dr Szkornik is currently undertaking a research fellowship, associated with Keele University’s Access and Participation Plan, which investigates access, progression and attainment differences for students through different ‘lenses’ including gender, ethnicity and disability.

Dr Szkornik said: "I am delighted to be appointed as a panel Chair as part of Advance HE’s transformation of the Athena Swan charter. I’ve worked with the Athena Swan team for the last nine years, assessing applications at all levels of the award, and I am pleased to continue to share my expertise in the newly transformed charter.

“I am a strong advocate of encouraging and inspiring females to undertake and progress careers in the sciences, and in particular, to take on leadership roles in academia. I look forward to working alongside the other chairs and panellists in our work to advance equality in the HE sector."