The 2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science lecture, entitled ‘The Extraordinary World of Birds and Their Eggs’ was delivered by Professor Cassie Stoddard on Friday 12 February 2021. Thwarted by the pandemic, we were glad to hold this event online. This inspiring talk covered Prof Stoddard’s ground-breaking research into animal colouration and patterning, hummingbird colour vision and the evolution of eggs. The lecture is available to watch here. Lectures from the events held in 2017, 2018, and 2019 can be found here.
Stefania Pasare, a Daphne Jackson Fellow in the School of Biology, has had a blog published on the Science Council and the Daphne Jackson websites to raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on women in science. The blog post can be found here. Congratulations Stefania!
On 22 January 2021 we held a Staff Wellbeing Teams Event to present information about the Resources and Support available here at the University of St Andrews.
10:00: Prof Frank Gunn Moore, Head of School and Prof Sascha Hooker, BEDI chair : School Initiatives
10:05: Avery Hawkins, University’s Wellbeing & Engagement Group : Aims, Scope, Activities/Projects
10:15: Geraldine Gillespie, Occupational Health : Services, Contacts
10:20: Louise Milne, Human Resources : Services, Contacts
10:25: Jo McCulloch, Student Support (Wellbeing) : Scale of Demand, Common Requests, Contacts
10:35 to 11:00: Q&A
A video recording of the event can be found here. Powerpoint slides from the event can be viewed using the following links – staff wellbeing signposting, staff support flowchart and Occupational Health services, as well as a compendium of useful links.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science Public Lecture
Friday 12 February 2021
2pm, online Teams Event
Our annual Biology International Day of Women and Girls in Science public lecture was originally postponed in the first lockdown, but we are going ahead despite the second lockdown!
Introduced by Principal Sally Mapstone, our speaker will be Dr Cassie Stoddard, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, who will talk about her work:
The Extraordinary World of Birds and their Eggs
Dr Stoddard studies visual communication and signalling in birds. In her public lecture, Cassie will describe her ground-breaking research into animal colouration and patterning, hummingbird colour vision, and the evolution of eggs.
Cassie Stoddard is an Assistant Professor of sensory ecology, evolution and behaviour at the Princeton University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, and her PhD from the University of Cambridge where she held both Marshall and NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Cassie joined the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2012 as a Junior Fellow and was subsequently named a 2013 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow.
All Biology staff are invited to attend the Staff Wellbeing: Resources & Support event on Friday 22nd January 2021 at 10am on Teams.
The aim of this event is to signpost where staff can source help/support/information on staff & student wellbeing. It is hoped that all staff will gain a better overview of the range of current and emerging support, and how to access this.
10:00: Prof Frank Gunn Moore, Head of School and Prof Sascha Hooker, BEDI chair
10:05: Avery Hawkins, University’s Wellbeing & Engagement Group
Aims, Scope, Activities/Projects
10:15: Geraldine Gillespie, Occupational Health
10:20: Louise Milne, HR
10:25: Jo McCulloch, Student Support (Wellbeing)
Scale of Demand, Common Requests, Contacts
10:35 to 11:00: Q&A
The University has launched a new Mediation Service, which is for everyone in the University of St Andrews community who wants to resolve disagreement informally. The Service works with individuals or groups who are seeking a collaborative and inclusive framework for problem solving.
The Medication Service is working with Scottish Mediation and are signatories to the Charter and adhere to the Code of Practice.
More details can be found here.
LGBT STEM week was spearheaded by the Physics and Astronomy School President, assisted by other STEM schools including Biology. Over 250 students from across the science faculty joined in the celebration of LGBT+ STEM Week in some form, via in-person events, online events, events run by societies, getting involved in the Make A Rainbow challenge, or attending Pride in STEM’s events. This was a fantastic result for the first event of this type and scale!
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, including:
‘This week feels so nice and inclusive. As a fresher, I was scared before coming that I wouldn’t be accepted, but this has made me feel so welcome’ and
‘St Andrews has been my home for a long time now, but now I feel more accepted and at home than ever’.
The School held an online open discussion of racism in academia on Friday 9th Oct 2020. The aim of this School-wide event was to initiate an open conversation about the impact of racism, discrimination and bias on students and staff in academic settings. The event was jointly organized by BEDI and the BAME Biology team, and chaired by Brynne Stewart, the School President. In total, 114 people attended, and several shared their experiences of racism, prejudice, exclusion and micro-aggression within and outside the university. In addition, Kevin Laland (Minority Ethnic Champion) provided background data on BAME representation in the School, Sascha Hooker (BEDI chair) described some of the ethnicity-relevant actions that BEDI had implemented or were planning, and Frank Gunn-Moore (Head of School) voiced his thanks and support to those who had spoken. The discussion provided an opportunity for staff and students to listen to those directly impacted by racism and discrimination and provided a forum for suggestions for changes that could be implemented within the School. Those attending were struck by the emotion and passion of those who spoke, and commented that it had opened their eyes to the different forms of racism taking place within the University and the School, even to the extent of making them question their own behaviour. Others noted that it was rare for staff and students to be present together in a forum such as this, and voiced their appreciation that, irrespective of status, everyone’s opinion and experiences were treated equally, with dignity and respect. Further ethnicity-related events and discussions are being planned by the BAME Biology team.
If you or someone you know has experienced bullying, discrimination, abuse, assault or harassment of any sort, you can report such incidents anonymously using the University’s Report and Support tool, which is aligned to institutional policies. You can also choose to use this tool to report using your contact details so a member of staff can get in touch with you to help provide support. This tool can be used by students, members of staff, members of the public or visitors to the University. Find out more about how Report and Support works.
Kevin Laland, the School of Biology ED&I vice-chair, has written an article entitled “Racism in Academia, and why the ‘little things’ matter, which was published as a Nature article.
Kevin draws on his own experiences to highlight that it is not just the overt acts of racism that should be challenged – but also the subtle biases and structural inequalities. He provides many suggestions on ways to reduce racism in academia via increased awareness, support, opportunities, and by making role models visible. A full list of these suggestions is available here.