Manchester Metropolitan University

What is Athena SWAN?

Equality Challenge Unit's Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

For more information please visit Equality Challenge Unit: Athena SWAN Charter

Our School and Athena SWAN

The School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology is committed to promoting gender balance within its academic community.  Its subject disciplines have typically been male dominated and there is a genuine desire within the School to ensure that women are fully supported in their career development to achieve their full potential and that the School is an attractive and supportive destination for female students. 

The School contributed to the University's success in gaining the Athena SWAN Bronze Award.  A team led by Dr Annabel Latham, a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, is now working towards gaining the Athena SWAN Bronze for the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology.  The team, which has representatives from academic staff, technical staff, research students and includes the Head of School, is producing an action plan which seeks to improve further work and study conditions for female staff and students, in an environment where all colleagues feel valued and supported.

Dr Annabel Latham talks about her research, what inspired her to study computer science and why women should consider a career in the field.

SCMDT Athena SWAN Team

Marie Carroll Senior Lecturer, SCMDT
Sandra Fletcher Technical Team Leader, Specialist Computer Sciences, SAS
Annabel Latham Senior Lecturer, SCMDT
Peter McKenna Principal Lecturer (Learning & Teaching), SCMDT
Keith Miller Head of School, SCMDT
Lida Nejad Principal Lecturer (Programme Leader - Mathematics), SCMDT
Stuart McKenna Equality & Diversity Manager
Amy Khalfay Graduate Teaching Assistant
Zoe Johnston HR Business Partner
Pedro Martinez Ferrer Research Associate, SCMDT


Students Union Teacher of the Year

Very many congratulations to Marie Carroll for her award as Teacher of the Year in the Students’ Union annual award on Tuesday. The award is richly deserved. For many years Marie has delivered highly effective, professional and sensitive teaching and support to students. Read more

Case studies

Dr Annabel Latham, Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology (SCMDT) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). I read BSc (Hons) Computation at UMIST, then worked in the financial software industry in technical writing, project management, implementation and training. In 1996, I joined the National Computing Centre to work as a senior product manager for Higher Education courses, responsible for all areas of development and marketing, including responsibility for publishing and marketing academic texts. I worked in the field of Academic Marketing for eight years variously as a technical author, project manager, lecturer and tutor, travelling worldwide providing consultation services to numerous colleges in the Far East. I returned to study at MMU, gaining an MSc with Distinction in Computing in 2007, followed by PhD research in Artificial Intelligence. I was awarded my doctorate in 2011, having developed a Conversational Intelligent Tutoring System (CITS) which aims to mimic a human tutor by dynamically predicting and adapting to an individual's learning style whilst directing a tutoring conversation. My CITS, Oscar, is the only existing CITS that can implicitly model an individual's learning style using behavioural cues during a tutorial and adapt the tutoring style to suit the learner. Oscar CITS continues to support SCMDT students at MMU where, as well as modelling and adapting to individual learning styles, Oscar uses computational intelligence techniques to provide hints, solution analysis, intelligent feedback and adaptation to knowledge.

I have a special interest in promoting gender balance in Computer Science, where there is an under-representation of women, and I am active in a number of groups trying to inspire young women to join our exciting subject, including leading the School's Athena SWAN project.

Dr Keeley Crockett, Reader

I am a Reader in Computational Intelligence at MMU and leader of the Intelligence Systems Group. Following my PhD on Fuzzy Rule Induction From Data Sets (completed 1998), I have pursued research in the areas of Conversational Agents, Adaptive Psychological Profiling, Fuzzy Systems and Short Text Semantic Similarity Measures. My research into conversational agents (CA) has contributed to a novel goal-driven CA architecture used in a range of applications within education in a Higher Education setting. I was a contributor to Silent Talker (including work on detection of deception using Artificial Neural Networks). More recently, I have been the PI on the funded project “Enhancing Local and non-verbal communication for informed consent processes in Tanzania” with Family Health International (FHI-360 USA). This project used Silent Talker technology to analyse nonverbal behavioural cues in the monitoring of comprehension during medical informed consent trials and resulted in the production of a system known as FATHOM.

I am a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and electronics Engineers (IEEE) where I hold senior positions within the Women into Computational Intelligence Society (current Vice-Chair) and Computational Intelligence Society Pre-College Activities Committee (Chair). I am also the current Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering for the United Kingdom and Ireland. I am a qualified coach and mentor.

Dr Lida Nejad, Principal Lecturer & Programme Leader

I graduated in Computing and Mathematics from Teesside University in 1981 and completed my Master's degree in Industrial Mathematics at Aston University. For my Masters dissertation, I studied numerical models of chemical kinetics in the Earth upper atmosphere. My interest in this area led to my PhD in computational astrochemical modelling of interstellar clouds at Manchester University. My work was pioneering in modelling of large systems of chemical kinetics in the interstellar medium, where I developed extensive software applications for astrochemical modelling. After my PhD, I went to the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University where I joined the Solar Physics group, extended my work to the field of Helioseismology, and became a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. I have continued my research in Computational Mathematics and its applications.

Alongside my research commitments, I have always enjoyed teaching, where my specialist area is Numerical Analysis, particularly computational methods and applications in Ordinary Differential Equations. In addition to teaching, I have long been actively committed to improving the quality of student support and experience.

Amy Khalfay, PhD Student.

I studied BSc Hons Mathematics at Manchester Metropolitan University 2011-2014. I achieved a 1st class honours as well as the Institute of Mathematics (IMA) award. During my undergraduate degree, I particularly enjoyed the statistics modules, and chose a final year project that involved creating statistical software in an engineering software package.

I am currently studying a Ph.D. in computational optimization, at Manchester Metropolitan University, entitled "Task Scheduling with Human Resource Allocation and Routing". I am collaborating with industry, Service Power, a world leader in field service scheduling. Furthermore, I have submitted my first research paper titled "Technician and Task Scheduling using a Multi Assignment Decision Heuristic".

My main research interests include; optimization, statistical analysis, graph colouring, scheduling and timetabling. I am also a member of the Athena Swan project, which seeks to promote STEM subjects to females and improve the gender imbalance in these subjects.

Moi Hoon Yap

I am actively engaged in medical image analysis and facial analysis.  I have been actively involved in the research of face and gesture analysis where I was awarded two Royal Society International Exchange funding to establish international collaborations. My research has attracted significant commercial interest, and I am currently involved two important collaborations: I am working closely with the behavioural scientists in Paul Ekman International plc (the originators of FACS coding) to develop a tool for analysing micro-facial expressions, as well as working with Croda Europe Ltd on face analysis. In addition, I am investigating the potential of adapting face research on a portable device. Recently, I involve in the development of an EU INTERREG proposal in collaboration with Bury, Oldham and Bolton Councils to investigate the use of portable device for people with dementia. On the other hand, I am involved in ageing related projects (MOVE-AGE and MYOAGE funded by EU Funding) currently developing software for automated histological image analysis, MRI image analysis,and rehabilitation system using Kinect. For dissemination events, I have co-organised an international conference with my colleagues last year and I am currently organising a face research workshop.

I am a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) Coder that I can convert the muscle movements on the face to numbers. Understand emotion is not only important for research, but it is very important for learning and teaching. I am practising research-informed teaching which will help me in motivating students. My enthusiast to research and working with student are the main reasons that I chose academic as my career.

Emma Norling, Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology (SCMDT) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, and I then moved into the computer science domain. I went on to complete a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (specifically looking at agent-based modelling of human behaviour) at the University of Melbourne. I have been working at Manchester Metropolitan University since 2005, first as a Research Associate in the area of agent-based social simulation, before moving into my current position in 2013. My current research interests draw together my experiences in social simulation and cognitive modelling, looking to develop socially-intelligent technology, that will take into account the user’s needs in the context of the wider network of people and devices in which he or she operates.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, Member of the Association for Computing Machinery, and member of the British Computing Society. I am an active member of the autonomous agents and multi-agent systems research community, where I am proud to contribute to their strong history in promoting opportunities for women and other minority groups.

Margaret Eastwood, Honorary Teaching Fellow

Although a Yorkshire woman by birth my rewarding career in mathematics education developed in Manchester, starting with a degree in Mathematics at UMIST in 1967. I went to Didsbury College to train teachers of Mathematics. Later I transferred to the Division of Mathematics at MMU (formerly Manchester Polytechnic) from which I retired as a Senior Lecturer in 2011. I have continued to work as an Honorary Teaching Fellow at MMU, which has facilitated my work for the North West Branch of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Until 1995 I worked on various committees, local and national, for the Mathematical Association. I have been a member of the IMA since 1967 and am currently Secretary to the North West Branch, arranging meetings and talks, a role made easier by being able to involve many of the eminent and talented mathematicians I have met.

In 2013 the IMA kindly recognised my work as NW Secretary with a Certificate of Service. This was followed in 2014 by the honour of being presented to HRH The Princess Royal at a meeting at the Royal Society to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the IMA, of which she is Patron.

I am a Chartered Mathematician and have been invited to speak on some 30 occasions to organisations (including media) throughout the UK on various subjects, but particularly on the use of calculators in schools (still a national issue).

Despite my total commitment to teaching and the professional institutes I have throughout my career pursued my interest in singing, both as a soloist and member of choirs.

My professional career and my singing have given me the joy of making long lasting and supportive friendships.

Dr Liangxiu Han, Reader, Deputy Director of Informatics Research Centre and Deputy Director of Crime and Wellbeing Big Data Centre

I am a Reader in Computer Science, Deputy Director of Informatics Research Centre and Deputy Director of MMU Crime and Wellbeing Big Data Centre, leads the FUNDS (Future Networks and Distributed Systems) Research Group within the School.

My main research interests and expertise cover: 
• Big Data Analysis and Mining (with application domains: Health, Food, Energy, smart cities, etc.) 
• Novel Architectures (e.g. Service-Oriented/Cloud Computing/Internet of Things) 
• Software and Knowledge Engineering 
• Complex Network Theory/Complex Science

The ultimate goal of my research is to tackle societal challenges for sustainable future society.

I have over 14 years research and practical experiences in developing intelligent ICT-enabled software solutions for large-scale data processing and data mining for different application domains (e.g. Biomedical Science, Energy, Fire Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Web Science, etc.) using various large-scale datasets including biomedical images, sensor data, and web pages (funded by TSB, EPSRC, EU-FP7, Government and Industry respectively). I am also Principle investigator or co-Investigator on different projects in relation to large-scale data processing, data analytics and software systems architectures (funded by BBSRC, EPSRC-DHPA, Amazon EC2, Optos, RCUK digital programme, Sustainable Society Network+, etc., Innovate UK. With application areas: such as health, food and agriculture, smart cities, cyber-security, energy). I am a member of EPSRC Peer Review College, independent expert for Horizon 2020, and peer review panel British Council. I am also a reviewer for several prestigious journals and international conferences in the field.

I have one school-aged son. With the support of my husband, we are trying to manage the balance between work and family well.

I have been interested in science since I was very young. I feel a sense of achievement when I solve some problems in real life using a piece of code or when students understand what I have taught them. Additionally, computer science is a dynamic subject. We can always learn new things from it and it is a good way to keep our minds active and sharp.

Marie Carroll, Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing, Maths and Digital Technology (SCMDT) at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Media Technology and FdSc Post Production Technology for Film, TV and CGI, and Coordinator for Level 4 and Level 6.

I joined MMU (then Manchester Polytechnic) in 1991 as a Clerical Assistant in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. I progressed to become Assistant Administrator and then Departmental Administrator in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I also covered the post of Research Administrator for a year. Whilst working in administrative roles I studied part time and gained a degree in Information Management.

After graduating in 2001 I was encouraged to apply for a lecturer post, teaching databases, study skills and web to students on the BSc Network in Engineering and Technology. I moved to SCMDT when two of the courses on which I teach were moved as part of a Faculty restructure. I am Unit Leader for the first year units Introduction to Web Design and Development, and Modelling and Animation Fundamentals.

Sandra Fletcher, Technical Team Leader

After completing an HND in Computer Studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic I joined MMU (then Manchester Polytechnic) as a technician in the Department of Physics, Mathematics and Computing.

Whilst working in this role I completed a part-time degree in Applied Computing here and then progressed to Senior Technician.

My current role as Technical Team Leader (Computational Facilities) involves myself and my team in the support of various areas of Computer Science including High Performance Computing Clusters, Database Systems and a new project around Big Data for teaching and research activities.

I am also part of the team who support the School’s Usability Lab used both internally for teaching and research and on a commercial basis.

Contact us

Dr Annabel Latham
SCMDT Athena SWAN co-ordinator
0161 247 1495
Keith Miller
SCMDT Head of School
0161 247 1544 
About Us