Diversity and inclusion at Melbourne School of Engineering
We’re commited to ensuring that you feel safe, included and engaged every day you set foot on campus.
Creating environments that support and encourage your success
At the Melbourne School of Engineering, we embrace the diversity of our staff and students. Differences in age, race, gender, cultural heritage, sexual orientation, physical ability and background bring a wonderful richness to our campus. That’s why we’re focused on creating an environment that values, supports and respects your views, knowledge and individual experience.
We’re strongly committed to increasing diversity in our staff and student cohorts, ensuring that you feel valued, respected and comfortable being yourself every day on campus.
Building a more diverse university experience through our efforts
To create a more inclusive and inviting community, the team at MSE is working to:
- Represent people with diverse attributes, experiences and backgrounds – focusing on equity towards female and Indigenous Australian students and staff
- Promote an inclusive culture where equality and diversity are valued and respected, staff are supported to achieve their aspirations and people feel empowered to raise concerns without fear of repercussion
- Implement a zero-tolerance approach to behaviours, attitudes and practices that do not support our diversity and inclusion strategy.
Key areas of focus
Our key areas of focus are:
- Increasing the percentage of female academic and professional staff, with a focus on: staff retention; promotion and recruitment
- Increasing the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff numbers
- Creating an inclusive organisational culture to support LGBTQIA+ staff and students
- Increasing networking and research opportunities for junior academics through mentoring programs, networking events, and fellowships
Supporting Women in Academia
STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) is a traditionally male-dominated field at professoriate and leadership level—an area that, in this day and age, should be significantly more balanced. Melbourne School of Engineering aims to increase the ratio of females to males in our student and staff cohorts by increasing the representation of women in the academic workforce across engineering and information technology disciplines.
Under Section 12 (1) of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the School strives to lift the representation of women from 25% in 2017 to at least 30% over the next five years. We strongly encourage applications from suitably qualified female candidates in all our advertised positions to help us achieve this goal.
SAGE Athena SWAN
The University of Melbourne has been accepted as one of 40 pilot institutions in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia. The SAGE Pilot Program was established in response to the under-representation of women in science leadership and is designed to promote gender equity and diversity in STEMM fields. We are committed to this initiative and are excited to improve gender equity.
Read more about the SAGE Pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.
MSE International Research Fellowship for Female Academics
The MSE International Research Fellowship for Female Academics provides a dedicated opportunity for young female academics to work in universities and research centres abroad. Sucessful applicants will be announced shortly.
The fellowship aims to provide opportunities for our female researchers to strengthen and develop their academic networks, knowledge, skills, and contacts. Fellowships are tenable for between one and six months. The next round of fellowships will take place between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.
Visit the MSE Intranet to learn how to apply for the Fellowship (staff only access).
MSE Mentoring Program
The School has worked to develop a specialised mentoring program to help achieve our diversity goals. Its proposal has been validated by the 2017 MSE Female Academic Staff Survey, which was conducted earlier this year by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. This mentoring program is strongly supported by the School Executive and a pilot program for 2017–2018 has been designed.
The MSE Mentoring Program is an initiative designed to support and encourage the growth of women in their professions. Each mentee is matched with:
- A senior mentor
- Topic-based peer mentoring groups where topics and group compositions are determined by mentees
- A series of workshops for which support the peer mentoring processes
The aim of the program is to create an environment where female staff feel valued, nurtured, and empowered to reach their full potential. The pilot program is focused towards female academics at levels A, B and C. Subject to its success, the program will be open to all academics and will run on an ongoing basis from 2018.
MSE Visiting Fellowships for Female Academics
The MSE Visiting Fellowship aims to recruit female academic staff by tapping into the right academic networks.
This fellowship is also designed to enhance engagement and collaboration between MSE female academics and researchers outside the School. Visiting Fellows will deliver a lecture, advertised and open to a school-wide audience.
Congratulations to all our 2017 MSE Visiting Fellows
|Prof Tulay Adali||University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), US|
|Assoc Prof Katrin Beyer||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)|
|Dr Grainne Cunniffe||Trinity College Dublin, Ireland|
|Prof Gabriella Cincotti||University Roma Tre|
|Dr Benedicte Cuenot||European Center for Research and Advanced Training in Scientific Computing (CERFACS)|
|Prof Ellen Longmire||University of Minnesota (UM), US|
|Dr Fleur Loveridge||University of Leeds, UK|
|Prof Elise Miller-Hooks||George Mason University, Virginia, US|
|Dr Rikky Muller||UC Berkeley, Electrical & Computer Sciences|
|Dr Alessandra Parisio||The University of Manchester, UK|
|Dr Julia Schmale||Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland|
|Prof Edie Schmidt||Purdue University, Indiana, US|
|Dr Mozhdeh Shabazi||University of Calgary|
The next round of fellowships will be offered early in 2018.
MSE Family Assistance Grant for Conference/Meeting Travel
Conferences and meetings are an excellent way for professionals to network and increase their visibility. While they’re great for research collaboration, co-authorship and grant applications, it can be difficult to find someone to look after the family while you’re away. That’s why the School is offering grants to academic staff to offset child-care related expenses. Academic staff who are primary carers of pre-school and school-aged children (up to Year 10) are eligible to apply.
Visit the MSE Intranet to learn how to apply for the Grant (staff only access).
Baby and parent rooms to support families at work
Parent rooms are available on campus. View a list of parent room locations for students and staff.
Flexible working hours and leave arrangements
We encourage people with family responsibilities to work flexible hours to achieve a more balanced life. Eligible staff can also apply for maternity and paternity leave and return to flexible working arrangements.
Read more about your options on the Careers at Melbourne website.
Indigenous Australians inclusion
Providing equal opportunity for Indigenous Australian staff and students.
Melbourne School of Engineering acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which our campus exists, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
We recognise that, in this day and age, Indigenous Australians experience disadvantage in most areas of life. The School is committed to driving change in this space by increasing the number of Indigenous Australians we employ and by striving to increase our Indigenous Australian student cohort. Our aim is to create an accepting and safe environment for Indigenous Australians, and support them to reach their full potential.
We welcome Indigenous Australians to study and work at the School and enjoy a rich and diverse community.
To find out about our current activities in this space, see Partnerships and sponsorships.
Our LGBTQIA+ community
Melbourne School of Engineering is a diverse organisation, welcoming people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, allies, and more (LGBTQIA+).
These individuals may be exposed to unsolicited discrimination at work, university and in their personal lives. The School is working towards improving the experience of its LGBTQIA+ staff and students through the activities listed below.
As an ally of our LGBTQIA+ staff and students, the term ‘queer’ will be used to describe those within our cohort who identify as members of this community.
The University has joined Pride in Diversity and contributes to the Australian Workplace Equality Index.
Creating awareness to support
Melbourne School of Engineering (led by the MSE Student Wellbeing Committee) hosted an LGBTQIA+ diversity panel during Semester 2 of 2017. This panel discussion included two queer MSE academics and four queer representatives from industry (both former MSE students who now work as engineers, and HR professionals).
The goal of this panel was to provide advice to current students around entering the workforce. Panel members discussed dealing with conscious and unconscious bias both professionally and personally through their own experiences. Moving forward, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee will run an LGBTQIA+ awareness activity each semester.
Establishing anti-bullying policies to protect
Queer community members often find themselves in a vulnerable and uncomfortable position in school and the workplace. At MSE, LGBTQIA+ individuals are protected under our Anti-bullying Policy.
MSE also aims to develop specific HR policies that provide the structure, framework, and support for its queer students and staff. We are also in the process of further exploring successful strategies that have been developed by other organisations in order to provide further support for queer individuals at the School.
Social programs to improve morale
As a result of discrimination, queer individuals are more likely to experience isolation and mental health issues. That’s why we’re developing two social programs to improve morale and provide a sense of community and support. Monthly coffee catchups are open to MSE students to meet fellow queer students and monthly drinks are being organised for queer staff. We hope these gatherings will provide a sense of community and support to the School’s queer community, as well as provide valuable networking opportunities.
Partners & sponsorship
Enabling diversity through partnerships and sponsorships
Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, aims to transform the lives of Indigenous Australians through their education at the Melbourne School of Engineering as well as their employment after graduation. This initiative aims to support and empower Indigenous Australians to reach their full potential both academically and professionally.
For more details visit Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development.
Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS)
The Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS) is an exciting program for Year 11 and 12 Indigenous students aimed to expand understanding and instill a passion for engineering.
Over six days at the University of Melbourne, our young guests will get an insight into what it’s like to study and work in engineering. They will have the opportunity to learn about different professional pathways available and hear first-hand the inspirational stories of Indigenous engineers and students. By the end of the week they will have an appreciation for what an engineer does and how they can impact society and improve the lives of people across the globe.
Learn more about VIEWS and how you can get involved.
Indigenous Engineering Software Project
MSE is working with Supply Nation certified Indigenous-owned businesses. As part of this project, our team of software engineering students works to develop software or systems projects for these businesses.
Our students apply the latest technologies and methodologies while working with their clients to develop tailored solutions to problems such as website development, customer management systems, data collection and mobile app development.
This partnership builds capability for Indigenous organisations while providing invaluable opportunities for our students to gain real world experience and solidify their learnings. So far, we’ve worked for businesses including Complete Workwear Laundry Services Pty Ltd and EZVets.
Worawa Aboriginal Girls College
Worawa Aboriginal College provides young Indigenous girls with a holistic education from years 7 to 10. These bright students have been developing their technical skills in a partnership with the School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS). This program, led by Professor Andrew Turpin and Dr Greg Wadley, is designed to build interest in computer science, IT, software engineering and information systems. CIS academic staff visit the school weekly to help the girls learn skills that will be useful for their future careers.
The Worawa students recently visited the Parkville campus, where they had the chance to experience cutting-edge Virtual and Augmented Reality at the Microsoft Centre for Social NUI. They also toured the University’s data room, and presented their coding projects in front of Melbourne School of Engineering staff.
Spotlight on our rising reseachers
We profile the amazing work carried out by our most promising junior academics. Read our latest profile:
Rajitha Senanayake received her PhD degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from The University of Melbourne, in December 2015. Her thesis is entitled Performance Analysis in Base Station Cooperation.
Dr Senanayake is currently a postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Melbourne School of Engineering. She is a recipient of the prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA). Her current research focuses on the physical layer challenges in designing affordable, secure and energy-efficient communication systems and protocols for future generation wireless networks. She also has expertise in cooperative communications, multi-user detection, probability theory and massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) signal processing.
During her research career, she actively collaborated with many national and international researchers. Dr Senanayake has networked with, and learned from, some of the most highly recognised senior researchers in the world. Prof Angel Lozano, from the Universitate Pompue Fabra, Spain; Prof Peter Smith, from the Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand; and Prof Jamie Evans from the University of Melbourne, Australia — just to name a few.
The influence of Dr Senanayake’s research work is evident by the recognition she has gained over the years, in the national and the international research community. She has published her findings in A/A+ journals such as IEEE Transactions in Communications, IEEE Transactions in Wireless Communications and has also presented at leading international conferences. She has delivered invited talks at two national conferences.
In recognition of her achievements during the last few years, she has received numerous awards including an ARC DECRA, two competitive scholarships and few internal grants.