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Succeeding in STEM: three women profs and their unconventional careers

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 18:00 to 20:00
Berrill Lecture Theatre

Succeeding in STEM: three women profs and their unconventional careers

Come and hear a lively panel discussion featuring three women from the Open University’s STEM Faculty who have recently been promoted to professor. With Professor Josie Fraser in the chair, our panellists will talk about their unique and somewhat unconventional career paths. They will discuss all things women and STEM, including top tips for success, how to overcome stereotype threat and imposter syndrome, and their vision of the future for women and STEM at the OU. Our trio of professors will begin by telling their own stories, illustrating how the personal is indeed still political, and how the right support mechanisms can enable women to succeed against the odds.

For tickets please click here for Eventbrite link. Tickets are available for 'in-person attendance' as well as 'online only'.


Information about the speakers

Sally Jordan is Head of the Open University’s School of Physical Sciences. After obtaining a BSc in Physics in 1978, she lacked the confidence to continue on to a higher degree in physics, and she had an early career as a librarian. After a short career break when her two children were young, Sally became a part-time physics teacher and Open University tutor and since then she has held a variety of roles at the Open University, and developed many innovative teaching resources.  She conducts research into student engagement with online assessment and the factors that cause demographic gaps in attainment. Thirty-six years after obtaining her BSc, Sally was awarded a PhD, and just two years later she was thrilled to be the first person at the Open University to be promoted to professor on a new profile designed to acknowledge teaching excellence.

Carol Morris joined the Open University in 1992 as a Staff Tutor in the West Midlands Region. She had obtained an HND in Chemistry in 1976 and worked for several years in the chemical industry before taking a career break. Just after the birth of her first child her doctor recommended studying a short course from The Open University, which renewed an interest in learning and inspired Carol to sign up for the OU’s famous Open Degree. She followed this with a degree in Electronic Engineering at The University of Sheffield, whilst juggling caring for her two young sons. After several years as a Staff Tutor she spent 10 years as an Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Technology, and later in the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology, before becoming a central academic and Director of Teaching in the former Department of Engineering and Innovation.

She is currently Deputy Head of the School of Engineering and Innovation, a Council member of the Women's Engineering Society and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Carol became Professor of Engineering Education in November 2018.

Clem Herman’s career as educator, researcher and practitioner to support equity and inclusion in STEM spans over 35 years. Her first degree was in Politics and History, and she began working in community based adult education in the 1980s. It was there she encountered her first computer, a BBC Basic, and decided that technology was the future and she needed to be part of it. She became a STEM returner herself, studying for an MSc in Computation at the age of 30 with two small children. In 1992 she set up and was Director of the Manchester Women’s Electronic Village Hall, which pioneered the use of ICTs to empower women through access and training. She joined the OU in 2000 as a Lecturer in Telematics and since then has had various roles including most recently as Director of eSTEeM (the OU Centre for STEM Pedagogy) and now leads the implementation of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning across the university. She is also the OU’s Athena SWAN Champion. Clem’s research has focused on career breaks and women returners to STEM, especially in IT and Computing. She gained her PhD in 2015 and was appointed Professor of Gender and Technology in March 2019.

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