Presented by: 
Professor Birgit Loch, La Trobe University
Fri 12 May, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Room 222, Parnell Building (07), St Lucia Campus

This Friday, May 12th, we will also hold a colloquium given by Professor Birgit Loch from La Trobe University. Professor Loch will introduce the peer-mentoring program towards promotion for female academics. The talk will be given at 2pm in Parnell (07) Rm 222. Everyone is welcome to join. Please note that there will be a light lunch organised before Professor Loch’s talk at Alumni Court (between Parnell (Bldg 7) and Goddard Buildings (Bldg 8)) from 1pm to 2pm. If you wish to attend please RSVP: . The lunch/talk is one of many events around Australia organised through the Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group (WIMSIG) of the Australian Mathematical Society.


In this presentation, I will introduce the peer-mentoring program towards promotion for female academics that Professor Virginia Kilborn (Astronomy), Associate Professor Helana Scheepers (Information Systems) and I established at Swinburne University in early 2015. The aim of this program was to address the gender imbalance at senior academic levels, by providing a supportive environment to guide female academics through the promotions process – and in many cases, to encourage them to even consider applying. This grassroots program in its first two years has already led to a record number of female academics applying for promotion, and a record number who were promoted. An overview of the program may be found in this Conversation article, published before the outcomes of the promotions round in the first year were announced:

At the end of 2015, our program won a Vice-Chancellor’s Culture & Values award following nomination by more than 40 academics. This peer-support program has now developed into SWAN (the Swinburne Women’s Academic Network), and an off-shoot was founded by professional staff in 2016, also honoured by a 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Award. SWAN will be one of the key submissions for Swinburne University’s application for a SAGE/Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

I will talk about how the program was established, critical factors that led to its success, and highlight some of its outcomes. Similar programs are currently being established at RMIT University and La Trobe University.


Professor Birgit Loch is the inaugural Chair, Teaching and Learning in the College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University. Before joining La Trobe, she was the Academic Director Digital Learning and Technologies in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (2014-2016), and the Director of the Mathematics and Statistics Help Centre (2010-2015), both at Swinburne University of Technology. From 2005-2010 she worked at the University of Southern Queensland, and in 2004-2005 in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Queensland.

Birgit holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Queensland, and researches in teaching with technologies in STEM education, with a focus on blended learning and open educational resources, as well as academic staff and student engagement with these. She has published widely on teaching with tablet PCs, production of and learning from online videos, and more recently on involving students as partners in the production of learning materials for their peers. Birgit has won faculty and university teaching awards, an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2010, and in 2016 an Australian Award for University Teaching.


The recording of Professor Loch's talk is available here .