The College of Science aims to be an inclusive community of students and staff, where every member feels a sense of belonging and common purpose. We expect members of our community to show kindness in every interaction, and to resolve disagreements in a respectful and constructive manner. We want our members to bring their whole selves to the College.

To achieve this goal, we work on continuously improving our culture. This includes understanding the problems (e.g., through culture surveys), reinforcing the positives (e.g., in promotion guidelines), and educating ourselves (e.g., through cultural awareness trainings). Our objective is not to tightly control behaviours, but to grow together to become the community we want to be.

Key links

Resources and Initiatives

Disclosure tools

We aim to have more disclosure tools available soon, allowing members of our community to report (anonymously if they want to) any incident they witness (e.g., racist behaviours).

At this stage, racism can be reported through the complaint system, as described on this page.

Recent progress towards gender equality and diversity

The CoS Diverse and Equitable Hiring and Workforce Development Procedure (PDF, 292KB) states the CoS goal to balance the proportion of women at all levels in all staffing categories to parity by 2030 and to make significant headway in raising awareness of diversity in hiring more broadly. It defines ‘Parity’ as having 40-60% of staff identifying as women in a staffing category. All Schools have made significant progress towards this goal in the past five years. 

RSB has sought to improve the gender balance among academic staff through 2 rounds of targeted recruitments, resulting in 7 of 8 recent appointments identifying as women. This has led to RSB achieving gender parity across academic staff and all staff combined. However, the proportion of women in Level E positions remains low (23%, an issue which is being addressed actively through ongoing mentoring). Cultural diversity in RSB is high, with 54% of staff being born overseas.  That said, there is room for increased cultural diversity among academic staff.

At RSAA, all continuing faculty hires in the last few years have been done advertising two positions, with at least one reserved to individuals identifying as women. The biggest step change in gender equity within the RSAA has been in the AITC, which has seen the fraction of women in the technical/professional staff increase from 5% to 34% in the past year alone thanks to a deliberate women-only hiring strategy. Under this strategy RSAA advertised ten women-only positions last year – six of which have been filled. The recent demographic survey done at RSAA has highlighted significant cultural and linguistic diversity across the School. RSAA also has one of the highest rates across the University of staff identifying as LGBTQIA+. More than 80% of senior academics have completed Unconscious Bias Training and about 30% of staff and students have attended on-site training organized by Mental Health First Aid Australia. To address the broader diversity, RSAA has started an Indigenous apprenticeship program to attract and support indigenous staff and students and currently hosts 2 Indigenous HDR students.

At MSI, over the past 5 years, tenure-track and ongoing academic women* appointments have markedly increased and reached nearly 50%. This success has been achieved partly thanks to advertisements aimed at “women only applicants”. The generous donations to MSI made by Tim and Margaret Bourke have allowed the School to support women academics and students. Research support has been provided in the manner of travel, fractional appointments, and top-up scholarships. 6.4% of MSI staff identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community (the percentage among the Australian population is 3-4%  [2018 Census data]). Nearly 60% of MSI staff members were born overseas, and more than 66% have caring responsibilities.

RSC has an academic recruitment round in full swing.  The School hopes to make up to five continuing appointments, with a commitment that at least 50% will be folk who identify as women.  It paid particular attention to the language used in the advertising material to ensure that a diverse pool of candidates was attracted. The School will also offer Rita Cornforth Fellowships, an RSC initiative targeted at hiring women academics, to successful Level B-D appointees. 

At RSPhys, ongoing academic women* appointments have gone from 6% to 25%, which is now on par with their long term gender ratio for HDR scholars.  Around 60% of ongoing academic staff are from cultural groups where English is not the primary language.  The RSPhys international HDR cohort represents between 20-30 countries, depending on the year, and between 40-50% of the total HDR cohort. The School has a very active Women* in Physics group, and an excellent family room with breastfeeding and menstrual care facilities.  

CPAS values the parity of academics identifying as male and female that it has achieved and maintained over the past 5 years.  We have now turned our attention to other forms of diversity including representing diversity of culture of origin and linguistic diversity; in 2023, 40% of our academic staff were born outside of Australia and represent 5 different regions of the world.

RSES has achieved parity for professional staff, and for early career academics. Senior academics still predominantly identify as men, but all RSES continuing academics who identify as women have been promoted within the past three years, most to full professor. RSES appointed its first woman Director in 2020. 

FSES has used targeted recruitment and a career development activity to increase the number of staff that identify as women. Between 2015 and 2022 it has increased from 47 to 56% among the professional staff and from 22 to 38% among the on-going academic staff. In the same period the proportion of women academic staff at the levels D-E has progressed from 10 to 27%.

The CoS Services functional teams (Advancement, Business Development, Executive Office, Testing & Tagging, Finance, HR, International Relations & Partnerships, Marketing and Communications, Research Office, & Student Services) are close to achieving gender parity in professional staff positions, (approximately a 70-30% split) favouring staff who identify as female. Nearly 50% of the workforce identify as being born overseas (48.8%), and there appear to be few barriers to career progression with 44.8% of managers identifying as being born overseas.  The College Services equitable hiring strategy has a focus on creating an inclusive environment and providing opportunities for staff from diverse backgrounds.

ANU Ally Network and LGBTIQA+ inclusion

The ANU Ally Network is a visible network of staff and students across the University who support the University’s commitment to providing an inclusive and respectful university environment for people who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and/or asexual (LGBTIQA+).

Discover how we can also improve LGBTIQA+ inclusion in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine via, Pride in STEM.

Community Events Calendar

The Community Events Calendar 2023 recognises significant events observed around the world, both religious and non-religious, highlighting the diversity of people, perspectives and beliefs. Teams are encouraged to observe and learn about these events to include and appreciate the diversity in our workplace and broader community. Education and awareness is a critical element of building an inclusive workplace in which we welcome a diverse representation of society and are a progressive, collaborative organisation.

Managers are encouraged to understand the events that are significant to their staff and whether it is appropriate to recognise or celebrate those events within their team.

The ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2021 has provision for staff to take cultural leave for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with the staff member's particular religious faith, culture or tradition, subject to the required notice and reasonable evidence as to the nature of the activity or ceremony the staff member is obliged to attend.

The Community Events Calendar uses a * to indicate a day when observant staff are most likely to take cultural leave. However, this list is not exhaustive, and staff are encouraged to discuss leave requirements with their supervisor and provide the appropriate evidence.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members are entitled to additional leave to fulfil cultural, community and family obligations under clause 36.13 and 36.14 of the ANU Enterprise Agreement. This includes one day paid NAIDOC leave annually.

Cultural Leave Frequently Asked Questions

Should I approve cultural leave for a certain event?

If a staff member has articulated why that event is significant to them (in writing) and met the notice requirement in the ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2021 (EA), than managers are encouraged to support and approve cultural leave.

A staff member is having a family dinner to celebrate an event, should I approve the leave?

If the staff member has articulated why the event is significant and that they traditionally celebrate this event with a family dinner, then yes, supervisors are encouraged to support cultural leave. Some cultural events require significant food preparation and it is appropriate to approve leave to prepare for and attend a dinner.

A staff member has requested cultural leave for a non-religious event, should I approve this?

The EA allows for cultural leave for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with the staff member's particular religious faith, culture or tradition. If an event is significant to an individual where such leave is connected to their identity, their community and where denying such leave would limit feelings of inclusion, psychological safety at work (as in a perception that an individual feels judgement and cannot be their whole self at work), tenure and ultimately the reputation of ANU, then supervisors are encouraged to approve cultural leave for such events.

What if I receive a significant number of cultural leave requests? Can I deny this on operational grounds?

Staff usually request cultural leave for days that are particularly significant to them. For instance, staff identifying to a particular religion will usually request specific days from their relevant calendar (for instance, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Islamic). Such days are usually significant to their region of birth, family, community etc. Managers are encouraged to understand which days are significant to their staff and approve cultural leave for these events. Understanding leave requirements early in the year will help teams manage operational requirements. Cultural leave is usually taken in instances of one or two days and supervisors are encouraged to manage operational requirements around cultural leave requests.

What documentation is required for a cultural leave application?

Significant events are recognised and celebrated differently for each individual. Documentation should therefore be flexible to individual needs. For instance, it could be a pamphlet, itinerary, order of service or an email from the staff member explaining the significance of the event and how it will be or is traditionally observed or celebrated by the individual.

Diverse and Equitable Workforce development action plans

The College of Science Diverse and Equitable Hiring and Workforce Development Procedure (pdf, 292KB) requires each School to develop a five year strategy that identifies underrepresentation in the workforce and lists recruitment and retention practices that will remove employment barriers, improve hiring decisions and create a diverse and inclusive workforce that is representative of the Australian population.

To see how the College is actively improving representation through our recruitment, retention and promotion practices, please click on the strategies below that have been endorsed by the College of Science Executive:

Inclusive language guides

Focusing on language may seem futile to people who have mostly experienced being part of dominant groups, but it is of great importance to minoritised groups. It is an important first step towards culture change. Below are links to guides that describe current best practices in using appropriate language.