Deputy Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President for Digital Transformation, Professor Aleks Subic, who joined RMIT in March this year, said the new role was a crucial building block in the College’s aspirations to play a leadership role in STEMM nationally.
He said a focus on gender equity, including a comprehensive STEMM diversity and inclusion strategy, was one of the key pillars of his vision for the College.
“By establishing this new leadership role of Dean – STEMM Diversity and Inclusion, we are realising our bold strategy of embedding diversity and inclusion at the heart of STEMM innovation,” Subic said.
“Professor Latham will have the unique role of connecting our entire STEMM ecosystem with this agenda and working with me to drive gender diversity across the college and within our leadership teams.”
Latham was a driving force behind RMIT’s Athena SWAN Bronze award, leading the University’s rigorous analysis and unflinching reflection as it mapped its efforts to promote gender equity and developed a clear action path for continued improvement and progression.
She said she was delighted and honoured to take on the new position of Dean – STEMM Diversity and Inclusion.
“The Athena SWAN application process, and our subsequently successful Bronze accreditation, was inspiring and enlightening, but it’s imperative we keep driving forward and deliver on the hopes and promises in RMIT’s Action Plan.
“I’m excited to continue to progress our STEMM Diversity and Inclusion strategy into the future and think it is particularly important in light of the challenging and unprecedented times in which we are currently working,” Latham said.
An experienced materials’ research chemist, educator, and advocate for equity and diversity in STEMM, Latham’s career to-date spans 10 years in the chemical industry, and 20 years in the Higher Education sector.
She is a postgraduate of the University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College), a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem FRSC) UK, and the Immediate Past President of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (Victoria), the first woman to hold that position.
Along with her role in developing and managing a mentoring scheme for future women leaders in STEMM, Latham will also facilitate the College’s progress in RMITs Reconciliation and Diverse Genders, Sexes and Sexualities (DGSS) action plans, along with accessibility, low socio-economic backgrounds and cultural inclusion initiatives.
Created by the Australian government as a national strategy to address gender equity and diversity in STEMM in higher education and research, the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative has effectively led and pioneered a national approach and commitment to Athena SWAN in Australia.
Owned and managed by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, SAGE recognises that addressing gender equity and diversity is not only the right thing to do; it has been demonstrated to have good outcomes for business, innovation and everyone involved at all levels of an organisation – it’s the smart thing to do.
Story: Karen Phelan