Good Practice Statement

The Mathematical Institute wishes to provide an outstanding environment in which to create, teach and study mathematics. We aspire to excellence in all three of these activities, and in all aspects of our work to support them. We believe that an outstanding working environment, in which students and staff alike can achieve their full potential, is not only highly valuable in itself, but is also a major factor in achieving the excellence we seek.

We hold that good working practices benefit all, while bad ones unduly and adversely impact on under-represented, disadvantaged or minority groups. In particular, we recognise the under-representation of women in the mathematics community and the importance of high-profile departments taking the lead in seeking to redress it.  We recognise that awareness of unconscious biases and their consequences leads to better decision making.

We fully acknowledge and respect our legal obligations in this sphere (while noting that in many cases they merely set out a minimum necessary standard), together with principles of the London Mathematical Society's Good Practice Scheme and those of the Athena Swan Charter.  Together, these underpin the following aims:

  1. To maintain a working culture in which all are treated equally in their prospects, recognition and progression, with particular emphasis on those from under-represented, minority or disadvantaged groups.  In particular to ensure that everyone is suitably encouraged and supported to apply for promotion at appropriate stages of their career, and to focus where appropriate on under-represented groups when recruiting at all levels, for example targeting girls in outreach activities. 
  2. To create and maintain an open and transparent system of governance, recruitment, administration and management in which it can be seen that all members are treated fairly. In particular: (i) to monitor workload to ensure that duties are allocated fairly; (ii) to ensure that all constituencies within the department are represented and have input into departmental activities that affect them.  
  3. To recognise and value diverse models of success within the over-arching aims of the department, and to provide good role models at all levels.
  4. To support members of the department who need non-standard working practices or other help, for example in flexible working, return from parental leave, or to accommodate disabilities.
  5. To support new members as they integrate into the department, ensuring that appropriate help is available.
  6. To ensure that all early career researchers have the opportunity to develop the skills and experience needed for an academic career, while making it clear to students and postdoctoral researchers that the Department values the wide range of careers which mathematicians can pursue.
  7. To promote mathematics to all prospective students, regardless of gender or background.
  8. To ensure that selection procedures for undergraduate and graduate students are fair and transparent; and where there is a gender or other imbalance in the pool of potential candidates or at any other stage during the process take steps to investigate and actively redress it.
  9. To have in place systems to monitor student progress and to identify and tackle any factors that may hamper the progress of a particular group. 
  10. To continue proactively to investigate factors which may act as barriers to staff or students achieving their full potential, including issues such as unconscious bias, in order to inform future strategies; to encourage all staff to engage with the literature and other resources on issues such as unconscious bias.

It is hoped and envisaged that these strategies will ultimately lead to an improved gender balance and increased diversity amongst academic and other staff, as well as students at all levels.

The strategies we are currently adopting in pursuit of these aims are described in our 2016 Athena SWAN application.  The Action Plan which is part of that application will be kept under review and updated by the Department's Good Practice Committee and Department Committee.