Inaugural Women in STEMM Chair appointed

Friday, 2 November 2018


In August, during National Science Week 2018, former Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen launched a flagship initiative to support the University’s efforts to address inequity for women in STEMM (Role models matter, 10 August 2018).

Professor Lee SmithI am delighted to be able to announce that Professor Billie Bonevski has been appointed as the University of Newcastle’s inaugural Women in STEMM Chair.

Professor Bonevski is well known to many across UON.  A behavioural scientist in the Faculty of Health and Medicine and current leader of the NHMRC-funded Tackling Nicotine Together (TNT) program, Billie has spent the majority of her career at UON. She is a known advocate for other women and was a passionate Chair of the Faculty’s first Gender Equity Committee (Jan 2015 to Dec 2017). She remains a committed and active member of a Committee which, under her leadership, set the tone for challenging the status quo, advocating for change and deploying strategies to assist women progress in their careers.

Professor Billie BonevskiIn assuming the role of Women in STEMM Chair for the next three years, Billie will provide leadership and a voice for the University’s gender equity action plan, in particular the STEMM focused initiatives captured in our SAGE Athena SWAN application.  We are committed to enacting the four year action plan and the details of the plan have been absorbed into our overarching Gender Equity Strategy – Progress to Equity.

Advancing gender equality demands active, committed and visible leadership and the appointment of a Women in STEMM Chair is a significant development for our institution. To complement this role and to support other important diversity and inclusion commitments across all Faculties, such as increased representation of Indigenous staff, I am also pleased to announce that a new role is to be established in each Faculty. As part of their workload allocation the Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion will ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion commitments remain a priority and an integral part of Faculty planning and decision making. I can confirm that Expression of Interests for the Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion roles will be advertised and run by each Faculty in November/December.

So at this important milestone in our equity journey, please join me in congratulating Billie on her appointment to this pioneering role. I know she will be a powerful advocate and I hope she will receive your support as she establishes what we all hope will be an ongoing and highly sought after role for future leaders.

Lee