What is Swinburne Panel Pledge?

The Swinburne Panel Pledge is a practical way for you to support equity, diversity and inclusion.

By taking the Panel Pledge, you are committing to taking part in internal or external professional events, conferences and panels that feature a diversity of speakers.

You are also committing to ensure Swinburne events that you are involved in hosting or organising represent diverse speakers and panel members.

Swinburne Panel Pledge

In taking the Swinburne Panel Pledge, I commit to ensuring events are diverse and inclusive.

To do this, I will: 

  • actively champion diversity and equity by calling for speakers from diverse backgrounds, genders, age groups, cultures and abilities
  • enquire about the gender balance and diversity of speakers and panelists when invited to participate in events
  • assist with suggesting speakers and panelists to support diversity and gender equity
  • advocate for diversity and reserve the right to withdraw from any internal or external professional event, symposium or conference where the diversity of the panel has not been considered
  • insist that events are representative and diverse if I am involved in hosting or organising an internal or external professional event, symposium or conference
  • question and raise the issue of gender balance and diversity when opportunities arise.

Why is the Panel Pledge important?

Actively calling for diversity and gender equity on panels, conferences and events ensures the inclusion of diverse voices. This helps counteract entrenched systems of inequality and supports positive change for underrepresented groups.  

How can I be involved?

Swinburne is encouraging all academic and professional staff to take the pledge. We also invite the broader Swinburne community (alumni, students and partners) to take the pledge.  

You can sign Swinburne Panel Pledge to make a commitment to diversity and equity when organising and/or speaking at internal and external professional events, panels and forums. 

Who has taken the pledge?

Professor Pascale Quester
Vice-Chancellor and President

Professor Sarah Maddison
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education, Experience and Employability) and Swinburne Executive Gender Equity Champion

Professor Chris Pilgrim
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer

Professor Karen Hapgood
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Nancy Collins
Chief Operating Officer

Professor Virginia Kilborn
Swinburne Chief Scientist

Dr Douglas Proctor
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement)

Professor Keryn Chalmers
Dean, School of Business, Law and Entrepreneurship

Professor Alex Stojcevski
Dean, School of Science, Computing and Engineering Technologies

Nigel Waugh
Chief People Officer

Philip Roe
Chief Information Officer

Mhairi Donohoe
Director, Facilities and Services

Rhiannon Jones
Director, Sustainability and Procurement

Maree Norden
Manager, Diversity and Inclusion

Dr Walter Robles
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Professor Tara Magdalinski
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Quality

Professor Jane Burry
Dean, School of Design and Architecture

Professor Ruth Bridgstock
Director, Employability

Associate Professor Nadine Zacharias
Director, Swinburne Student Life – Acting

Carolyn Bendall
Chief Marketing Officer

David McCall
Head of Strategy and Commercial

Michelle Gillespie
Director, Student Administration and Library Services

Vicky Rosios
Director, Strategic Planning and Data Analytics

Vicky Peters
Manager, Indigenous Student Services

Andrew Kong
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer (Vocational Education and Training)

Professor Emad Gad
Dean, School of Engineering

Professor Andrew Gunstone
Executive Director, Reconciliation Strategy and Leadership

Michael O'Shea
Chief Financial Officer

Tom Rowan
General Counsel

Dr Andrew Peters
Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Studies and Tourism

Jessie Macintyre
Director, Organisational Development

Tim Werner
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Coordinator

Yes, I take the Swinburne Panel Pledge

By signing the pledge, you are making a public commitment to diversity and equity when organising and/or speaking at internal and external professional events, panels and forums.

Other resources

When you are invited to speak at an event

  • Ask how the organisers have considered gender equity and diversity, and request confirmation that the list of speakers is diverse.
  • If the panel isn’t diverse, make it clear that your acceptance is based on the condition that diverse speakers are invited to take part.
  • Confirm Traditional Owners are appropriately recognised through Acknowledgement of Country, including in event material, information and proceedings (for Australian-based events).
  • Offer the names of speakers from underrepresented groups.
  • Suggest relevant resources and speaker databases to locate diverse speakers.

When you are hosting or organising an event

  • Ensure the organising team is diverse and plan your event to attract a diverse audience.
  • Think beyond the ‘usual suspects’ in your area or sector when selecting speakers.
  • Ask colleagues for recommendations or put out a call for speakers, highlighting your pledge to supporting diverse panels and events.
  • Seek input from the Moondani Toombadool Centre to support opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers and contributions.
  • Invite and support upcoming talent – speaking at conferences and events can support career progression and development (less experienced speakers may need your encouragement, coaching or mentoring to build confidence to present).
  • Invite diverse speakers to talk on the main topics of the event or conference.  
  • Refer to the inclusive events checklist.

When you are attending an event

  • Before you register your attendance, check if the list of speakers is diverse.
  • If the panel isn’t diverse, respectfully bring it to the attention of the event organisers, highlighting this representation is impacting your decision to attend.
  • Send an email querying the lack of diverse speakers and offer the names of speakers from underrepresented groups.

Diversity and inclusion are priorities at Swinburne. Use this checklist to ensure you consider accessibility and inclusivity when organising your events.

Check venues and facilities are accessible

  • Plan to use venues and facilities that cater for diverse needs, such as access to a family room, breastfeeding facilities, multifaith and quiet reflection spaces, accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms, access to public transport, accessible parking and clear signage.   
  • Meetings & Events Australia has an Accessible Events [PDF 407KB] guide to assist in planning accessible events and meetings.
  • Accessibility maps for Swinburne campuses (including information on accessible parking) are available from AccessAbility. Swinburne's Resource Booker includes information on venue accessibility and whether a hearing loop has been installed. Contact Facilities and Services for venue or room accessibility queries.

Confirm diverse speakers and panel members 

  • Actively seek speakers from diverse backgrounds, genders, age groups, cultures and abilities.
  • Seek input from the Moondani Toombadool Centre to support opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers and contributions.
  • Ensure a diverse team is organising the event and use your networks to find diverse speakers.
  • Think beyond the ‘usual suspects’ in your area.
  • For conferences or event series, collect and review the data on speaker and audience diversity. Use this data to identify any issues, develop any actions needed to improve diversity and to monitor progress. 
  • Ensure diverse speakers are invited to talk on the main topics of the event or conference – avoid tokenism or invitations to speak on behalf of an underrepresented group.

Consider timing of when events are held

  • When scheduling an event, consider the needs of those with caring responsibilities or other commitments and people who work flexibly. 
  • During and between events, schedule sufficient time to support attendees with care and faith commitments and people using mobility aides.

Consider childcare options  

  • If your event is attracting attendees from outside Melbourne, particularly for international conferences, best practice is to consider childcare support options.
  • Consider what mechanisms could be arranged to support people who might be prohibited from attending due to carer commitments.
  • Investigate options such as offering virtual attendance, recording sessions and using venues with family rooms, care facilities and childcare services.

Consider specific requirements during registration

In event invitations or registrations, ask guests if they have specific requirements.

Requirements Things to consider
Accessibility requirements

Include an open-ended question (not a tick box) or a statement for registrants to detail their requirements (e.g. "If you have accessibility requirements, please let us know ahead of the event date, so we can support your requirements.")

If Auslan interpreters are required, allocate budget for interpreter costs and provide a minimum of 10 days' notice for interpreters to be booked

Outline accessibility features of the venue and facilities

Provide accessibility maps (including accessible parking information) for events on Swinburne campuses

If you need guidance in providing accessibility support, contact inclusion@swinburne.edu.au

Dietary requirements Include a question (e.g. "Do you have dietary requirements that we need to be aware of?") and the options (e.g. kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, other - please list)
Preferred name and pronouns Provide an option for registrants to detail a preferred name and gender pronouns

Provide accessible presentations and documents

  • Swinburne has developed templates for presentations and documents, which comply with accessibility standards and guidelines.
  • Make sure to incorporate our Acknowledgement of Country for both physical or virtual events.

Reach diverse audiences

  • Use inclusive signals in event communications (e.g. the tone, the diversity of images and the use of non-gendered language).
  • Promote using a range of media and channels.

Know the location of nearby facilities

  • Provide attendees with relevant facilities information, such as directions to accessible bathrooms or multifaith spaces.

Acknowledge and pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

  • Swinburne’s Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country guide is available on the staff wiki.
  • Contact Moondani Toombadool Centre (MTC) to discuss the type of ceremony that is appropriate for the nature and size of the event and coordinate a booking for Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of Country and other Indigenous ceremonies. A Welcome to Country ceremony should be booked at least six weeks prior to the event. 
  • MTC can also advise on additional ways to include and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and perspectives in event planning, information and proceedings.

Incorporate safety

  • Know how to access health and safety information, incuding assistance in emergencies.
  • Seek advice well in advance about current government health and safety guidelines, including COVID-19 advice by emailing healthsafetywellbeing@swinburne.edu.au.
  • Review information on preparing for emergencies (including how to contact fire wardens and first aid officers) and responding to emergencies at Swinburne.
  • For after-hours events, inform attendees that Swinburne offers security escort to their car or nearby public transport.
  • At the start of physical events, provide emergency evacuation instructions.

Manage consent and privacy

  • Event organisers must ensure permissions from participants are collected.
  • The Acknowledgement and Consent form is available for use at all Swinburne events.
  • Photography signage and consent forms must be in use for any physical events.
  • Virtual event participants must be notified if the event will be recorded.

Manage event interactions and engagement

  • Provide guidance to manage event interactions, such as when and how to ask questions and contribute comments (for both physical and virtual events).
  • If the content includes sensitive material, remind attendees to respect contributions to foster a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.
  • If the content includes personal and potentially confidential information, remind attendees to maintain confidentiality and respect people’s privacy.

Find out more

For further information or support on diversity and inclusion at Swinburne, please email inclusion@swinburne.edu.au.

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