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Equality and Welfare in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department is a community of people who work and study together, aiming to be a vital and welcoming centre for teaching, learning and research. It is very important to that aim that we function well as a community. We need to learn from each other, and that involves communicating well, supporting each other in our different roles, responding to problems effectively, and being open to new ideas. The Equality and Welfare Committee is a forum for discussing and promoting the wellbeing of students and staff in the department, with special attention to fostering equality and diversity in the philosophy community.

Equality, diversity and wellbeing are themselves excellent topics of philosophical study. How do we foster the goods that these terms aim to identify? What specific problems can we address in the context of university teaching, learning, and employment? The importance of these concerns reflects, in part, historical practices that restricted and discouraged participation in education and employment in people identified by characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and disability. The legacy of such practices remains influential in the fact that those characteristics still track under-represented groups in philosophy. As a department, we are committed to reversing that legacy. We also take equality and diversity to contribute positively to wellbeing: we want every member of the philosophy community to be welcomed and supported, and we want Philosophy at Warwick to benefit from students' and staff's diverse strengths, interests and experience.

The Equality and Welfare Committee (EWC) supports these goals in a variety of ways. The committee itself meets on a termly basis to discuss current issues, monitor progress on ongoing projects, share information, and develop ideas and plans for the future. Membership on the committee includes representatives from undergraduates, postgraduates, administrators and faculty. Student representation is extensive, with membership drawing on different student organisations and reflecting as much diversity of perspective as possible.

See links to events and relevant groups and information sites on the right.

If you have questions or ideas that you would like the EWC to consider, please get in touch – see contact details below.

Activities and projects

Some ongoing activities and projects promoting equality and welfare in Philosophy.

  • Members of EWC play a central role in the Department’s application for Athena SWAN The Athena SWAN awards recognise advancement of gender equality, and in 2017 the Department won a Bronze Award. We are preparing an application to renew our Athena SWAN status. Achieving the award involves carrying out plans that address every aspect of department life, including curriculum, teaching, hiring, scholarly events, and attention to whether we are making progress.
  • The Department has an active chapter of MAPMinorities and Philosophy – organised by Philosophy postgraduates. MAP runs seminars and other events open to all, for learning and discussion about a wide range of issues relevant to equality and welfare.
  • The Department has embraced the British Philosophical Association / Society for Women in Philosophy Good Practice Scheme. This scheme provides concrete steps to take to increase representation of women in philosophy and to work more broadly against forms of bias and discrimination in the profession.
  • All staff participating in recruitment complete the Equality, diversity and inclusion in the HE workplace e-learning module (and all staff are encouraged to complete it). This module provides an understanding of equality issues in the workplace and a knowledge of the relevant legislation that supports this.
  • The Department’s review of new module proposals includes consideration of diversity in the selection of texts and authors. Suggestions about how to expand and deepen the curriculum in this regard are welcome.

Contacts

  1. The Equality and Welfare Committee (internal site for students and staff only) is chaired by Eileen John (Eileen.John@warwick.ac.uk).
  2. The Committee Secretary is Clare Simpson (Clare.Simpson@warwick.ac.uk).
  3. If you are a member of staff or a student with concerns regarding bullying or harassment, see the information available on the University’s Dignity at Warwick page (link at right).
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