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

  • Dr Mike McDonald (Chair)
  • Dr Sonika Tyagi (Deputy Chair)
  • A/Professor Suresh Balasubramanian
  • Dr Travis Johnson
  • Professor Dustin Marshall
  • Professor Carla Sgro
  • Dr Tamar Sztal (Postdoc representative)
  • Javiera Olivares Rojas (Postgrad representative)
  • Sam Cheers (Postgrad representative)

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.

Invited speaker for 2020 - Professor Mariana Wolfner, Cornell University, USA, 24-26 February 2020.

LGBTIQ - Ally Network

Allies in the School:

Allies in the University:


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:

  • Fiona Hibbert (HDR and Education Officer) - fiona.hibbert@monash.edu
  • Anna Peters (Chair; HDR Committee) - anne.peters@monash.edu
  • Mike McDonald (Chair; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee) - mike.mcdonald@monash.edu

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

Breastfeeding at work and Parenting rooms

For access to parenting rooms outside what is listed above, please contact the EDI Committee, mike.mcdonald@monash.edu.


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, as far as possible, equal opportunities for and equal expectations of individuals, regardless of gender, race, culture or sexual identity. 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 the representation of under-represented groups across all levels within the School and implement, as far as is possible, the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. We aspire to achieve a School where the diversity of members reflects the cultural diversity of Australia overall and includes a minimum of involvement at all levels of governance and membership of the school of 40% men and 40% women.

Terms of Reference

1.  To provide a forum for promoting equity, diversity and inclusion issues.

2. To formulate and implement an equity, diversity and inclusion plan for the School of Biological Sciences.

3. To provide advice to the Executive Committee of the School of Biological Sciences on policy and strategy.

4. To liaise with the Faculty of Science and Monash University committees.

5. 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 Moira O'Bryan
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