Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The School of Biological Sciences Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed in September 2017 and meets monthly. The Committee's role is to monitor and establish (if needed) policies and activities to facilitate equity, diversity and inclusion within the School.

Committee Members

  • A/Professor Christen Mirth (Chair)
  • Dr Thomas Hiscox (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Robert Bryson-Richardson
  • Professor Carla Sgro
  • Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian
  • Hannah Morrow (Postgrad representative)

Acknowledgement of Country

The William Cooper Institute provides guidance for giving Recognition to Traditional Owners.

An Acknowledgment of Country allows the wider community (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to show respect for and acknowledge the Traditional Owners; their rich culture, their heritage and their continual relationship with the lands and waters. It demonstrates that we value and recognise the Traditional Owners' customary place within Australian society today.

Anyone can make an Acknowledgement of Country. It does not have to be an Indigenous person and Indigenous people may or may not be present. Most Monash events should begin with an Acknowledgement of Country from the chair or host. The host may also acknowledge the presence of Elders and community members from other lands/clans.

What Do I Say?

For Monash University campuses and sites in Melbourne, the following is suggested:
I wish to acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nations, on whose land we are gathered today. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

Or alternatively:
I respectfully acknowledge that we meet on the traditional lands of the Kulin nation and acknowledge their cultural heritage. I pay my respects to the elders past and present, and through them, all First Nations people.

This is a general acknowledgement:
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.

A few more tips:

  • Remember to avoid past tense.
  • If you like, you can contextualise your Acknowledgement by incorporating information about the influence and contributions of Indigenous people and cultures in your area of research. This demonstrates a respectful understanding of the importance of Indigenous people, history, cultures and knowledge.
  • You might choose to use a visual aid on a slide, such as a map.
  • Even if you do not personalise your Acknowledgement, do a little research can make you feel more comfortable and reduce any feeling of imposter syndrome.

Here are some approved sites that provide some background information about the Kulin Nations:

  • Kulin Nation
  • Aboriginal Heritage Council - this website shows the Registered Aboriginal Parties that the Victorian Government has officially recognised, it in no way delegitimises the Traditional Owners yet to receive registration.

Current Focus

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • Achieving eligibility for departmental Athena SWAN Bronze
  • Ensuring diverse role models
  • Equitable staff recruitment processes
  • Managing unconscious bias
  • Promoting an inclusive culture that encourages diversity
  • Inclusiveness training

Distinguished Women in Science

The School of Biological Sciences Distinguished Women in Science program was established by the School's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2018, with support from the Faculty of Science, to bring high profile female international speakers to our School.

LGBTIQA+ - Ally Network

Allies in the School:

Allies in the University:


All Gender Toilets on Campus

Monash supports students and staff using toilet facilities that make them feel comfortable.

Parenting Rooms on Campus

For access to parenting rooms outside what is listed above, please contact the EDI Committee.

Breastfeeding on Campus

Information for new parents in graduate programs at Monash

This is a summary of information, meant as a guide to the issues you need to consider when expecting to be a parent. Please follow the links for more information. Any further enquiries can be sent to:

  • Anna Peters (Chair; HDR Committee) - anne.peters@monash.edu
  • Any member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

Maternity Leave for students on scholarship

12 weeks paid within the tenure of the award for the birth or adoption of any subsequent child. In addition to the entitlements outlined under section (Leave of absence), you may apply for parental leave (that is, spouse/domestic partner leave), maternity leave, or adoption leave of up to 12 months during your enrolment for each birth or adoption where you are the primary carer of the child.

In the case of parental and maternity leave, leave is to commence no earlier than six weeks prior to the expected date of delivery of the child, unless medical evidence recommends otherwise.

In the case of adoption leave, leave can only be taken from the date the child is permanently placed with the student for adoption.

Parental Leave

5 days paid within the tenure of the award; students can apply for further unpaid leave as per enrolment entitlements outlined in the Table at the following link:  Chapter 4: Changes to enrolment - Table 2

Information about leave provisions for those students looking for maternity or any kind of parental leave:  4.1 Types of leave


Note: Student health insurance for international students may not cover the pregnancy, students are thinking about having family should investigate the details of their cover.

Students with access to Australian Medicare will probably be covered, but should look into the details of their cover.

Information about the what medical costs are covered:


There are limits on the length of PhD scholarships. Some types of leave will not extend the length of time that you can be enrolled. You should consult about how and when you take your leave, and the use of flexible or part time return to study.

Terms of Reference

Equity, diversity and inclusion is a set of actions, attitudes, and assumptions that provide equitable opportunities and equitable expectations of individuals, regardless of gender, race, culture, disability, sexual identity or any protected attribute. It affords a framework for an inclusive productive working environment in which all individuals can achieve their best and diversity is valued.

The broad aim of the Committee is to advance equity, diversity and inclusion across all levels within the School and to identify actions that the committee can take, or advocate for, that increase equity, diversity and inclusion in the School of Biological Sciences. We aspire to achieve a School where everybody feels welcome and included, and where the diversity of members at all levels reflects the cultural diversity of Australia overall.

Terms of Reference

  1. To identify impediments to, and take actions that promote, an environment that is equitable, diverse and inclusive for all staff and students.
  2. To formulate and implement an equity, diversity and inclusion plan for the School of Biological Sciences.
  3. Evaluate and monitor the progress of the equity, diversity and inclusion plan.
  4. To provide advice to the School Management Committee of the School of Biological Sciences on policy and strategy.
  5. To liaise with the Faculty of Science and Monash University committees.
  6. To liaise with external stakeholders to influence policy on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Contact Us

Do you have a question or concern about equity, diversity and inclusion in the School?  Do you have a suggestion for how challenges can be overcome? Please send us an email at: sci-biol.gequityin@monash.edu.

Statement of Support from Head of School

The School of Biological Sciences values everyone equally and is committed to ensuring that our School is a safe and inclusive place for all students and staff.

Should staff or students need support, please contact any of the members of the Committee (listed above), my office, or University services.

Professor Craig White
Head of School

School Code of Conduct

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to providing a work place that is productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion. Each member of the School has a responsibility to act in a way that fosters a positive experience for all members of the school and those that interact with it. All school members are required to read, understand and follow this Code of Conduct.

  • School members will treat others, including other staff and students, with respect, dignity, consideration and courtesy.
  • School members will comply with the law, and in all their dealings with others behave honestly and ethically and respect individual privacy. This includes not photographing or recording any individual without consent.
  • School members will refrain from any form of behaviour that may be perceived as intimidation, harassment, a threat or otherwise cause a person to fear for their safety. School members will not engage in acts of bullying, aggression or violence.
  • School members will respect the rights of others to work and study free from discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. Harassment includes inappropriate physical contact, unwanted sexual attention or innuendo, deliberate intimidation or stalking. It also includes offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion. Sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate.
  • School members who witness violations of this code have a duty of care to report the behaviour to the School.

We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Anyone who wishes to report a violation of this code is asked to contact, in confidence, the Head of School, the School Culture & Inclusion Champions, or a senior colleague that you trust.

Publications and Articles

Workforce Diversity in Higher Education, N. Oishi