The morning session will feature presentations by both speakers and will be of general interest to scientists and engineers. The workshop session in the afternoon has limited capacity.
"The Athena SWAN experience in York'" - Prof. Paul Walton, Department of Chemistry, York; the first department to be awarded Athena SWAN Gold.
“Thinking Fast & Slow: The nature and impact of unconscious bias in HEI?” - Dr Pete Jones, C.Psychol. AFBPsS.
This afternoon session builds on the morning sessions to look at how unconscious bias may interact with our own perceptions of how we feel others view the groups to which we belong, but importantly introduces the research literature around ‘what works’ in mitigating unconscious bias. This will be followed by an opportunity to start working on the practical ways we can better manage our own specific people processes including marketing, staff and student selection, staff development and student assessment. It ends with some organisational and personal action planning; simple and easy steps to mitigate unconscious bias.
Biographical Information on the speakers:
Professor Walton’s research interests include the synthesis and characterization of model complexes related to copper-based enzymes. Due to the large size of enzymes, composed of thousands of atoms, it is difficult and often too complicated using standard chemistry spectroscopic techniques to directly characterize the working center of most enzymes. However, one method that avoids this complexity is to prepare simpler and smaller version of the enzymes through coordination complexes, which have the same or similar types of atoms surrounding the metal centre. These smaller metal-centered molecules provide a spectroscopic handle, which serve as a reference point for comparison with the structure of the active or working site within the actual enzyme. One set of enzymes that are of particular interest to Professor Walton are the copper mono-oxygenases, in which bacteria use to breakdown molecules such as methane and ammonia in the presence of oxygen. However, Professor Walton examines a particular class of mono-oxygenases that cleavages bonds within starches, called polysaccharides. Professor Walton is also involved in studying enzymes that help to down structurally supporting polymeric materials found in wood, including cellulose and lignin. Prof Walton has published more than 70 peer reviewed papers including a recent article in Nature Chemical Biology (2014).
In addition to academic research, Prof Walton is a champion of gender equality. Chemistry at York was the first academic department in the UK to receive the Athena SWAN Gold award, first attained in 2007 and then renewed in October 2010 and in April 2014. Prof Walton is the Chair of the Athena SWAN working group in the Chemistry Department and was Head of the Chemistry Department for six years. He has also served on Athena SWAN Assessment Panels. He has delivered over forty seminars on the topic in the UK and at least ten internationally.
See here for further information:
Dr Pete Jones is a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist who specialises in research and consultancy around our unconscious biases and how we can better manage them at work. Pete speaks candidly about his own biases, and has some strong advice for well intentioned policy writers and trainers around how their practices may actually increase rather than decrease bias. In a former life Pete was a police officer but now speaks nationally and internationally on bias management. He is the author of Implicitly®, believed to be the first commercial psychometric test to measure our hidden biases.