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Concordia releases its report of the Advisory Group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

'The team worked closely with a cross section of Concordia faculty, staff and students'
September 30, 2019
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By James Roach

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Concordia began university-wide discussions in fall 2018 to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to see the full spectrum of its community’s talent and perspectives reflected in the institution. 

After four months of consultations, Concordia has released its Report of the Advisory Group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

The report identifies five priority areas for improvements — policy and processes, hiring, training and education, leadership and university responsibility, and campus culture.

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Forming an advisory group 

The three-phase project began with a call for members to form an advisory group which resulted in 11 community members joining the group. 

Meeting weekly, from February to May 2019, members included undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, the chair and two subject matter experts from the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic.  

The team’s work was informed by prior information-gathering sessions, meetings with external consultants, discussions with other university staff and faculty and a thorough scan of EDI practices at other Canadian universities.

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A consultation driven process

The advisory group held events on both campuses that included listening to Concordians on what is working, what needs to be improved and on priority areas to help advance EDI at the university.

Lisa Ostiguy, advisory group chair and special advisor to the provost on campus life says, “the team worked closely with a cross section of Concordia faculty, staff and students to ensure that the report captured the widest possible diversity of voices.” 

The process was based on reviewing and summarizing feedback obtained during consultations with individuals and stakeholder groups, as well as during structured interviews, ethnographic listening, IDEAS Cafés and creative consultations with the use of listening pods. 

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Key areas for improvements

The report of the advisory group identifies five themes that will form the priorities for working group recommendations in phase two.

A couple of key recommendations from the report of the advisory group are highlighted below. 

In the third phase of the project, a steering committee will oversee the implementation of recommendations.

Policy and processes

  • Identify a home for information on university policies that address EDI to create better access to the university.
  • Review policies that exist in the university related to EDI and identify gaps and updates necessary to address ongoing concerns. Accessibility has been identified as an area that specifically needs attention. 

Hiring

  • Specifically address our lack of people of colour, people with disabilities and Indigenous staff in our hiring processes.
  • Develop a plan to increase the training on bias and inclusive job posting to all sectors of the university (possibly creating a webinar or online unit that could be accessed by all hiring committees across the university).

Training and education

  • Establish a working group to review the feasibility of principles of Universal Design for Learning being implemented across the university in teaching and services.
  • Develop specific training on conflict resolution and strategies to support individuals facing barriers, discrimination and harassment.

Leadership and university responsibility 

  • Formalize and allocate resources to support a structure or model that coordinates and promotes EDI across the university.
  • Collect better data and metrics on progress of EDI initiatives.

Campus culture

  • Create opportunities at Concordia to celebrate our diversity, including communications to highlight stories from members of our community and holding diversity weeks and various events each academic year to learn more about our diverse campus.
  • Develop a university action plan to address EDI as part of all processes across all sectors at the university.
     

President Graham Carr says, “I fully support the work of the advisory group in putting forth recommendations that will create a more accessible campus for historically marginalized and underrepresented groups.” 

“I’m also appreciative of the past and ongoing efforts to enhance EDI across the university.”  

Download the report.


Contribute to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion at Concordia during a series of conversations running from October 7 to 10 on the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses.

If you have any questions or comments about the Advisory Group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion report, write to Lisa Ostiguy: advisory-group.edi@concordia.ca.

You may also visit the EDI web pages for more information.

 



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