What is SWiM?
The Supporting Women in MDHS (SWiM) program aims to promote gender equity and support academic promotion of women in our Faculty.
SWiM aims to inspire and encourage women to seek out and step up to leadership roles in their academic careers, as well as strategically prepare them for academic promotion.
Why does gender disparity matter?
Our Faculty cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all our academic staff. Female academics are forced out of careers in STEMM by structural barriers and dysfunctional systems. The loss of such expertise is a significant waste of knowledge, talent and investment. This is an important issue for the entire Faculty to take on. Achieving gender equity will result in better balance, leading to a better Faculty for all.
What are we doing?
SWiM will provide targeted support for women applying for academic promotion under three pillars:
- Inspiring stories: a seminar series featuring women leaders and change makers
- Tailored mentoring: supporting women in preparing for academic promotion; Register as a mentor now
- Peer networks: for information sharing and advice on career progression
The SWiM program is aligned to:
- University and MDHS Faculty Gender Targets for Level D and E
- Beyond 2018 MDHS Strategic plan, pillars 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, and 3.2
- The University of Melbourne Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Athena SWAN Bronze Award Action Plan
- Our participation in the Joint Sector Position Statement: ‘Preserving Gender Equity as a Higher Education Priority During and After COVID-19.’
- Advancing Melbourne, 2030
- Australian Academy of Science's Women in STEM Decadal Plan.
Inspiring stories: webinar series
In this monthly discussion series Associate Professor Natalie Hannan, Associate Dean Diversity and Inclusion, invites leading women in STEMM and other sectors to join her for a conversation about their careers, to share their advice and experience.
Natalie shares, "I hope that by creating this ongoing series for all MDHS colleagues we open up conversations about women in the workplace and feel inspired for our futures, better connected and confident to achieve our best."
Tailored Mentoring Guide
The SWiM Program aims to provide focused support for Level C and D academic women applying for promotion in 2021. To ensure our Faculty is progressing towards reaching gender equity, we want to provide support to women in a new tailored form and the mentoring partnership is a key factor in the success of our program.
Participants will be partnered with Level D and Level E academic mentors outside of their Department (and School where possible) for tailored advice and to support them through the promotion application process. Pairings are based as much as possible on the data we receive from your registration application as a mentor and/or a mentee.
A copy of our Mentoring Guidelines can be downloaded here
“Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor” – Lailah Gifty Akita
What to Expect
One on one support through individual mentee/mentor relationships
- Your mentor will be someone who has successfully applied for academic promotion to level D or E and has opted in to be a mentor for this specific program; they will likely have mentored others in a promotion application too,
- They will be an active listener, ask you questions about your career and provide constructive feedback in order to prepare an application that best showcases your attributes in line with the promotions criteria,
- You will receive six months of one-on-one support and guidance developing and refining your promotion application,
- Communication between you and your mentor should be targeted towards preparing a strong promotion application, the relationship, communication style and medium should be mutually decided on early to ensure you meet each others expectations.
- We recommend at least 4 mentor/mentee meetings throughout the promotion process (please see below for more details about the key program dates).
Opportunities for networking and peer support
- You will be invited to practical workshops with other mentees focused on preparing and refining promotion applications,
- You will be set up with a members access online connection via Teams to share content, stories, and progress,
- Two small-group networking sessions twice throughout the promotion rounds to encourage connection and application preparation (peer groups will be encouraged to also connect in addition to these two sessions),
- You will be supported with updates and check-ins from the SWiM team with respect to program dates and expectations of progress.
Alignment with the University’s promotions process, timelines and briefings to ensure that workshops are timely and relevant
A cross section of academic mentors from Levels D and E will be identified provide a mentor for each of our mentees.
Inclusion criteria for mentors are:
- Participation in the MDHS promotion process either as an applicant or assessor (must be familiar with current promotions process)
- Evidence of effective mentorship in the past
- Demonstration of the Faculty values
- Passion for supporting the career development of others
- Availability and commitment to attend program events and meet with mentees between January and July 2021
Mentors are not expected to edit promotion applications and are not responsible for promotion outcomes. The role of the mentor is to provide high level advice and support with respect to the narrative of the promotion application, time management, consideration of performance relative to opportunity and asking questions to draw out the strengths of the mentee as they relate to promotions criteria.
To register as a mentor, please visit here
*Please note that registrations for mentees are now closed. We will welcome another cohort in the near future*
Any academic mentee at Level C and Level D are invited to join the program if they intend to apply for academic promotion in through our registration portal.
Inclusion criteria for mentees are:
- Readiness and commitment to apply for academic promotion in 2021
- Availability and commitment to attend program events meet with assigned mentor between January and July 2021.
Getting the Right Match
- The matching process will be undertaken using the data gained through the registration survey.
- When completing the registration keep an open mind when completing your preferences in your application profile – we will try our best to accommodate your preferences, but it is not possible to guarantee a 100% match.
- Mentoring participants often report gaining a lot from mentors they would not necessarily of picked themselves in the beginning. Intuition is important, and should be relied on but mentees often experience great outcomes by keeping an open mind and maintaining a professional relationship. You may also have other mentors in your Department, try to use this paired mentor to help convey your case beyond your discipline or workforce category.
- An agreement should be reached about the style, duration and regularity of meetings possible between you and your mentor early on – with expectations discussed early.
- Remember that mentoring can be more than the traditional expert-novice relationship. We have many committed mentors who are willing to share their expertise and support you through the promotions process.
- Teamwork & collaboration – sharing knowledge and expertise to help achieve goals
- Respect – for the diversity of histories and lived experiences to create a safe space to share knowledge and experiences
- Integrity – honesty and trust underpin our mentoring relationships, where mentoring conversations are kept confidential
- Compassion - communicate and clarify expectations of each other (active listening is critical)
- Accountability – we are accountable for the actions we commit to, including being on time to scheduled meetings, advising of any changes in plans as soon as possible and being prepared for meetings.
This program is underpinned by our Faculty values:
Key Program Dates
Date Activity November - December 2020
Call to HoD/HoS to identify potential mentees and mentors
18 January 2021
MDHS Mentoring program launch event
17 February 2021
University wide women only promotions briefing
18 - 19 February
University wide promotions briefings
First mentor/mentee meetings
1 March 2021
University calls for promotion applications
University wide women only promotions briefing
MDHS Mentoring program workshop 1 – preparing your application
26 March 2021
Mentee advises HoD/HoS they are applying for promotion
Second mentor/mentee meetings
19 – 23 April 2021
MDHS Mentoring program workshop 2 – refining your application
Third mentor/mentee meetings
14 May 2021
Complete application submitted to HoD/HoS
Fourth mentor/mentee meetings
28 May 2021
Application and HoD/HoS report returned to applicant (Level E)
4 June 2021
Closing date for application to HR (Level E)
11 June 2021
Application and HoD/HoS report returned to applicant (Level D)
18 June 2021
Closing date for application to HR (Level D)
June - July 2021
MDHS Mentoring program celebratory event
July - August 2021
Evaluation phase 1 (debrief with participants)
Evaluation phase 2 (promotion outcomes)
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